Application of benzoic acid to the skin has caused irritation and allergic reactions in humans. Ingestion of benzoic acid has caused stomach pains, while the acid or its sodium salt taken orally may have provoked episodes of asthma and skin rash in people who suffer from these conditions. The acid had a moderate acute oral toxicity in man.

Benzoic acid was a skin and eye irritant in rabbits. The acid and its sodium and potassium salts displayed a moderate to low acute oral toxicity in experimental animals. The acid had a low acute dermal toxicity in rabbits. In experimental animals, repeated oral exposure to the acid or its sodium salt has caused effects on the central nervous system and damage to various organs including the spleen, lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, lungs, brain and gastro-intestinal tract. Foetal malformations were seen when pregnant rats were given repeated doses of sodium benzoate orally or by injection. Long-term oral studies with the acid or its sodium salt gave no real evidence of carcinogenicity in rats or mice. Sodium benzoate caused chromosome damage in cultures of mammalian cells but did not affect the bone marrow chromosomes of rats in vivo, nor did it induce mutations in fruit flies or in Ames bacterial assays. Benzoic acid was inactive in cell transformation assays and did not induce mutations in Ames bacterial tests or in a yeast assay.

Date of Publication: 1989

Number of Pages: 11

CAS Number*: 65-85-0




Format: PDF available for immediate download

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