Sodium Benzoate Used as a food preservative or antiseptic, sodium benzoate is a white crystalline powder chemically known as C7H5O2Na or E211. Although it is classified by the Federal Drug Administration as safe, sodium benzoate is a controversial additive. Sodium benzoate was previously used for centuries as a preservative to prevent the growth of microbial organisms in the food. In presence of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) such as in jams, sodium benzoate can form the chemical benzene. Benzene is known to damage DNA, genetic material, which can lead to leukemia and other cancers. Since sodium benzoate works best in acidic environments, the consumption of sodium benzoate is a rising issue. "Sodium Benzoate Food Preservative - Research Paper - Misselleanor." Free Term Papers, Research Papers, Essays, Book Reports | OPPapers.com. Web. 16 May 2011.