[Eli Lilly] Originally a trademark name for a solution of 0.1% thimersol (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate) in alcohol. Introduced in the 1930s, merthiolate was a widely used antiseptic and as a preservative. Its hot-pink color produced stains that were difficult to remove. Lily ceased manufacturing all thimersol products in 1991,but it is still made by other companies as a preservative sometimes used in vaccinations. Currently the product name is generically used for solutions of Benzalkonium chloride in water. Red dye is used to simulate the thimersol color.
Synonyms and Related Terms
Thimersol was highly toxic by ingestion. Current Merthiolate solutions containing benzylkonium chloride are not toxic.
Resources and Citations
- Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
- Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- Wikipedia at benzylkonium chloride link Accessed Dec. 2020.