Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate and parabens
are all examples of benzoates.
Benzoates are a type of preservative which is very effective as antifungal and antibacterial agents to give products a longer shelf life. Unfortunately can act as an irritant in some people and can cause contact allergic reactions, worsening of eczema or asthma symptoms, or in some cases cause anaphylaxis when consumed.
If you think you have a benzoate allergy, you should avoid foods, medicines and cosmetics which contain benzoates. Additionally there are a number of E numbers to watch out for including sodium benzoate
(E211), potassium benzoate
(E212), calcium benzoate
(E213) and methylparabens
Benzoates are associated with allergic contact dermatitis, angiodema (swelling of the skin) and worsening of asthma symptoms.
Sodium benzoate does not occur naturally in food, but benzoic acid is found in dried foods such as prunes, cinnamon, cloves, tea, tomatoes, plums, apples and cranberries. Benzoates are also added as a preservative in soft drink, pickles, salad dressing, soy sauces, jams and jellies.
Healthline - What Is Sodium Benzoate? Everything You Need to Know
The Dermatologist - An Updated on Benzoates
Dermnet NZ - Contact allergy to preservatives
WebMD - Sodium Benzoate
Articles and Journals
Hidden and Rare Food Allergens in Pediatric Age, 2023
CD01 Sodium benzoate: an important allergen to patch test to, 2023
What is the added value of patch testing with 30 fragrance allergens in addition to the European Baseline series?, 2022
Anaphylaxis to food additives, 2022
Review article: cinnamon- and benzoate-free diet as a primary treatment for orofacial granulomatosis, 2011
Contact allergy to preservatives. Analysis of IVDK data 1996–2009, 2011
Allergic contact dermatitis to sodium benzoate chloroacetamide in a sorbolene lotion, 2006
Monosodium benzoate hypersensitivity in subjects with persistent rhinitis, 2004
Sodium benzoate-induced repeated episodes of acute urticaria/angio-oedema: randomized controlled trial, 2004
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