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Is sodium benzoate a carcinogen?

Some studies conducted by the soft drink industry show that sodium benzoate in the presence of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and heat can react to form benzene, a known human carcinogen. Benzene can also be formed when sodium benzoate is in the presence of citric acid and heat, but to a much lesser degree.

Because some of our formulas contain sodium benzoate and citric acid, we conduct thorough testing to determine if benzene is being formed in products that contain both ingredients. The results of these tests show that there is no detectable benzene in Seventh Generation for the Wee Generation Baby Personal Care products that contain both sodium benzoate and citric acid.

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