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benzoic acid

A preservative that occurs in nature in cherry bark, raspberries, tea, anise, and cassia bark. First described in 1608, when it was found in gum benzoin. Used in chocolate, lemon, orange, cherry, fruit, nut, and tobacco flavorings. Also an anti-fungal ingredient in cosmetics such as hair rinses, cleansing products, and moisturizers. A mild irritant to the skin, it can cause allergic reactions. In 1992, the FDA proposed a ban on benzoic acid in astringent drug products because it has not been shown to be safe and effective for its stated claims.

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