After hearing about sodium benzoate in asthma medication at your presentation recently I was a bit shocked, and sure enough it was there in my son’s medication - standard Ventolin Sugar Free Oral Liquid used for under fives. I talked to my GP about my son’s asthma and that the preservative that can cause asthma was in the medication and he was extremely shocked.

My son had suddenly developed asthma when he was two months old, just after his first immunisation shot - although at that age they don't call it asthma. When the asthma finally went away we got the second shot. After that he frequently stopped breathing and was on so much medication we took turns at sitting up with him through the night. Finally we decided that the medication wasn't working constantly enough and took him off it without telling the doctor – and our son slowly got better. He would still have small attacks on occasions so after my husband read your book he decided we should try diet. We noticed there was a difference when we found some sultanas that didn't contain sulphites.  We were doing great and had almost six months free of any medication then last week our son developed an ear infection and was put on Amoxil antibiotics and Panadol for pain, both containing sodium benzoate. Within three days he had an asthma episode. After much enquiry I have found that sodium benzoate is in almost every single baby medication including pain medication (often along with artificial colours and flavours. Our pharmacist said that the small amount of sodium benzoate couldn't possibly create a reaction like asthma, it's unheard of, and as sodium benzoate is so effective as a preservative it is the most commonly used preservative in medication today and likely to be in the future.  God help us!! – mother from Qld.

[See the article Asthma worsened by benzoate contained in some antiasthmatic drugs, by Balatsinou L and others, Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol, 2004 ;17(2):225-6: "Drug and food additives are known to induce pseudo-allergic reactions such as urticaria, eczema, asthma and rhinitis. These reactions are often under-diagnosed, above all in allergic patients treated with additive containing drugs. On the contrary, attention to the additives present in some drug formulations and foods may often permit more correct diagnosis."]