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[mass noun] A compound able to inhibit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, used as a medical disinfectant and preservative for biological products.
- ‘This was strengthened a few weeks ago when US researchers suggested a mercury-based preservative, thiomersal used in the vaccine for whooping cough could be linked to the development of the condition.’
- ‘The third change is that the new vaccine does not contain the mercury-based preservative thiomersal.’
- ‘The removal of the mercury-based preservative, thiomersal, comes weeks after researchers in the US suggested that it could be linked to the development of autism.’
- ‘We are told that the mercury-based preservative thiomersal will no longer be used in the whooping cough vaccine ‘as part of a worldwide aim of reducing exposure to the element.’’
- ‘The vaccine does not contain the mercury-based preservative thiomersal, unlike the existing version.’
1950s; from thio- + mer(cury) + sal(icylate).
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