Friday, March 6, 2009

A Different Benny...B-B-B-Benny and the Jets...

I am old enough to know songs off of almost every Elton John album, including Benny & the Jets from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, from the early 70's. Sir Elton was a part of my childhood, which makes me wonder just how old he is now?? Speaking of 'Benny", I think of that song every single time I see an ingredient with the word "benzoates" in it. Good grief, shouldn't I know what a "benzoate" is? After all, I went to cosmetology college just a mere 25 years ago... and, and - I homeschooled my kids through high school, including biology and chemistry... and... do you know what benzoates are? Well then - let me share with you, a little about sodium benzoate. Really, sit a spell and let me tell ya what I have discovered over the last few weeks about "Benny".

Sodium benzoate (and potassium benzoate) are preservatives that are added to many foods, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, mouthwashes and nutritional supplements/vitamins. They prevent the growth of yeasts, bacteria and fungi. Sounds like an ok thing – right? Read on…

From what I understand, products with benzoates that are exposed to high temperatures or light can react with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to form the powerful carcinogen benzene. Benzene exposure has been linked with leukemia. Fact – true.

The U.S. government did tests in 1990 showing that benzoate preservatives do break down to form benzene. Apparently, the beverage industry was informed to monitor themselves and then work to reduce using this additive. As usual, nothing changed and the problem didn't come forth until a private citizen had beverage samples analyzed; he found they contained four times the permitted levels of benzene. Surprise ya? what about in soda??

Additional studies have also shown that sodium benzoate can cause hives, asthma and anaphylactic shock in sensitive people. I think it just gives some of us “the itchies”.

Here's what got me: benzene has the ability to affect mitochondria in cells and cause cell death. Scientists have called for the US Food and Drug Administration to retest the potential dangers of sodium benzoate and citric acid in soft drinks, because the tests proving its safety are old. I’ll hold my tongue.

Here’s a list I found online, that you may find very interesting - see if you recognise many of these: I sure did!

Benzoates: Benzoate's includes any of the following permitted preservatives (E numbers 210-219):

E210 or Benzoic acid

E211 or Sodium benzoate

E212 or Potassium benzoate

E213 or Calcium benzoate

E214 or Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate

E215 or Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or sodium ethyl para-hydroxy-benzoate

E216 or Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Propyl para-hydroxybenzoate

E217 or Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or sodium propyl parahydroxybenzoate

E218 or Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Methyl para-hydroxybenzoateE219 or Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or Sodium methyl parahydroxybenzoate.

Again, benzoates have been linked to allergies, asthma, skin reactions, ADHD, hyperactivity, gastric irritation and migraines. See that book over on the right -- by Dr. Bock? Healing the 4-A Disorders: Allergy, Asthma, ADHD and Autism? I've read that book. Twice, in fact. Doesn'tmean I understand it all, but - I wonder what Dr. Bock would have to say about benzoates... am I over-reacting?

Benzoates can affect the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines.

Tylenol contains sodium benzoate.

Tylenol also reduces glutathione levels, and glutathione is an important part of our detoxification process.


Once again, my head is spinning... and I am sad. I am sad that there are so many factors that have contributed to Nick's condition. I've never run out of information to blog about. I wonder if I will. Will it end?

Time will tell...

1 comment:

  1. That is interesting information, as I wonder why my 11-year-old often breaks out in hives (seems to be a daily thing). Perhaps he's exposed to benzoates, though we rarely drink soda and don't use Tylenol.