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Toxicology. 1975;3(2):171-6.

Tissue concentrations of mercury after chronic dosing of squirrel monkeys with thiomersal.


Squirrel monkeys were dosed intranasally with saline or thiomersal (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate, 0.002 percent w/v) daily for six months. The total amounts of thiomersal given during the six months period were 418 mug (low dose group) and 2280 mug (high dose group). This was equivalent to 207 and 1125 mug mercury. The dose differential was achieved by more frequent administration to the high dose group. Mercury concentrations were significantly raised over control values in brain (high dose group only), liver, muscle and kidney, but not in blood. Concentrations were highest in the kidney, moderate in liver and lowest in brain and muscle. Much of the mercury was present in the inorganic form (37-91 percent). No evidence of toxicity due to thiomersal was seen in any animal. Nevertheless accumulation of mercury from chronic use of thiomersal-preserved medicines is viewed as a potential health hazard for man.

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