Benzoic acid (natural)
What is it?Benzoic acid is a compound found naturally in many foods such as apples, apricots, snap beans, and cranberries. It is readily available in synthetic forms, but Tom’s of Maine has diligently selected one sourced from nature.
What does it do?Benzoic acid is used as a pH adjustor and preservative. It prevents the growth of microbes in our products to keep them safe for our consumers. Benzoic acid functions by changing the internal pH of microorganisms to an acidic state that is incompatible with their growth and survival.
What are the alternatives?As mentioned above, benzoic acid is readily available in a synthetic form. At Tom's of Maine we use natural benzoic acid as it is the best fit with our stewardship model. Other commonly used synthetic preservatives include sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin, among others. Some of these synthetic materials are considered safe, while others can have real problems. Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin are "formaldehyde donors", which act by releasing microbiocidal levels of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde poses health risks and is considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What are the risks?The Food and Drug Administration includes benzoic acid on its list of direct food substances affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). With high use levels some people may experience irritation reactions, but at Tom’s of Maine we are mindful of this and formulate our products appropriately. Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with pure and natural ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
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