The artificial chemicals that are used for preservation are designed to kill bacteria and fungus, but they can also harm our bodies. The effects of exposure to these chemicals is cumulative, meaning that you don't have to be exposed to them all at once in order for them to be dangerous. As long as you're regularly exposed to these substances, they'll build up in your body and cause damage over time, and have been linked to all kinds of health issues. They can have a negative impact on your mood, behavior, and even brain function.
Some common artificial preservatives include sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats and mice. Studies have also linked it to migraines and asthma in humans. Other studies have shown that artificial preservatives can lead to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Sodium benzoate is a commonly used preservative in food and drinks, and it's also used as a fungicide and bactericide. But it turns out that sodium benzoate can also be harmful to humans. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has named sodium benzoate one of its "Worst Food Additives" in 2014.
The negative health effects of sodium benzoate include:
- Allergic reactions
- Asthma attacks
- Headaches and migraines
It's great at killing bacteria, but it can also cause problems if you have an allergy to sulfites. Sulfur dioxide, which is a byproduct of sodium benzoate, can cause allergic reactions including asthma, rhinitis (runny nose), hives and anaphylaxis (a severe whole-body reaction).
Sodium benzoate also reacts with vitamin C to form benzene, a known carcinogen. It's best to avoid this preservative all together, especially if you're pregnant or nursing or have asthma or any other respiratory issues.