All of you soda drinkers might want to pay attention to this one. A new study from Britain's Sheffield University is linking sodium benzoate, a preservative found in some sodas, to cell damage. Research is suggesting that the preservative has the ability to switch vital parts of DNA.
Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.
He told The Independent on Sunday: "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether."
It can be identified in soft drinks by the phrase "sodium benzoate" or E211. Oh and in case you were wondering, it is also used in fireworks as a powder that makes the whistling noises.
This is not the first time sodium benzoate has found its way into the spotlight. In March of 2006, the Food & Drug Administration was said to be running tests on whether or not combined with ascorbic acid, heat and light, it forms benzene, a known carcinogen.