Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Benzene Bad For You?

Also Known As: C6H6



Short answer

Yes, benzene is bad for you. The chemical has been linked to various health concerns, including cancer.



Long answer

Benzene is commonly found in soft drinks, cola, flavored mineral water, fruit drinks, sports drinks and cordial. It is formed when both vitamin C and sodium benzoate interact with one another. Sodium benzoate is usually added to products to extend shelf life and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.

Many studies have been carried out as to the toxicity of benzene and the effect on the human body and it is believed that it is carcinogenic, meaning it can accumulate inside the body and lead to many forms of cancer.  Benzene is heavily used in manufacturing plastics, lubricants, pesticides and resins but can also occur naturally within the earth. Each day we are exposed to benzene in the atmosphere through cigarette smoke, petrol stations, and other industrial products. It seems the levels at which we are exposed to within the environment are a lot higher than the levels that are contained within soft drinks. Therefore, a cigarette smoker wouldn’t bother being concerned about the level of benzene that could potentially be contained in his can of coke, as the amount of benzene, amongst other chemicals he is inhaling would far exceed that.

There is no accurate process in which to continually measure the levels of benzene in a soft drink as it differs from chemical reaction to chemical reaction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is closely monitoring companies whose drinks show up on the high-level end of benzene content and some are pushed to reformulate their drinks. In conclusion, any kind of artificial drink should be consumed in moderation due to synthetic ingredients and sugar content. The risk of benzene being present is possible, however, environmental exposure to this chemical is much higher. Still, any product that has the potential to be carcinogenic should be avoided.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headaches
  • dizziness

Possible long-term side effects

  • irregular heartbeat
  • cancer
  • decrease of red blood cells

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Written by Maddiebair | 05-15-2016

Written by Maddiebair
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