CAS number 129-16-8 YesY
ChemSpider 10808965 YesY
EC number 204-933-6
KEGG D00861 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C20H8Br2HgNa2O6
Molar mass 750.65 g mol−1
Appearance dark green solid
R-phrases R26 R27 R28 R33 R50 R53
S-phrases S13 S28 S36 S45 S60 S61
Main hazards Toxic, dangerous for the environment
 YesY (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Merbromin (marketed as Mercurochrome, Merbromine, Sodium mercurescein, Asceptichrome, Supercrome, Brocasept and Cinfacromin) is a topical antiseptic used for minor cuts and scrapes. Merbromin is an organomercuric disodium salt compound and a fluorescein. It is readily available in most countries but no longer sold in the United States because of its mercury content.



Merbromin's best-known use is as a topical antiseptic. When applied on a wound, the dark red color stains the skin -- making the detection of any erythema or inflammation, indicative of infection, more difficult. In the United States, its use has been superseded by other agents (e.g., povidone iodine, benzalkonium chloride, chloroxylenol). It is still an important antiseptic, particularly in poorer countries, due to its "unbelievably low cost".[1] Merbromin is also used as a biological dye to mark tissue margins and as a metal dye in industrial dye penetrant inspection to detect metal fractures.


Mercurochrome is the trade name of merbromin. The name is also commonly used for over-the-counter antiseptic solutions consisting of merbromin (typically at 2% concentration) dissolved in either ethyl alcohol (tincture) or water (aqueous).

Its antiseptic qualities were discovered by Johns Hopkins Hospital Dr. Hugh H. Young in 1919.[2] The chemical soon became popular among parents and doctors for everyday antiseptic uses and it was very commonly used for minor injuries in the schoolyard.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it from the "generally recognized as safe" and into the "untested" classification to effectively halt its distribution in the United States in 1998 over fears of potential mercury poisoning.[3][4] It is readily available in most other countries.

Within the United States, products such as Humco Mercuroclear ply on the brand recognition history of Mercurochrome but substitute other ingredients with similar properties (Mercuroclear: "Aqueous solution of benzalkonium chloride and lidocaine hydrochloride"[5]).

See also

  • Thiomersal, also known as Thimerosal or Merthiolate


  1. ^ Prashant N. Mohite, Ashok M. Bhatnagar (2009). "Mercurochrome 1% as an antiseptic for burns: Economical - but is it efficacious and safe?". The Internet Journal of Surgery 21 (2). ISSN 1528-8242. "Apart from these qualities, still the most important factor for which mercurochrome has remained the favorite of the physicians in the developing countries is its attractive price. The compound is being sold at unbelievably low cost ... the reasons being the low manufacturing cost, longer shelf life, use in diluted form and importantly less propaganda about its medical use." 
  2. ^ Isaiah Wilner (2006). The man time forgot: a tale of genius, betrayal, and the creation of Time magazine. HarperCollins. p. 230. ISBN 0060505494. 
  3. ^ "Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act): Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Mercury Compounds in the List". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2009-04-30. 
  4. ^ "What happened to Mercurochrome?". The Straight Dope. 2004-07-23. 
  5. ^ "Mercuroclear MSDS". 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • merbromin — ☆ merbromin [mər brō′min ] n. [mer(curic acetate) + (di)brom(ofluoresce)in] MERCUROCHROME …   English World dictionary

  • Merbromin — Strukturformel Allgemeines Freiname Merbromin Andere Namen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Merbromin — Mercurochrome Merbromin Formule semi développée du merbromin Général Nom IUPAC Sel disodique de l acide dibromo 2 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • merbromin — /meuhr broh min/, n. Pharm. an iridescent green, water soluble powder, C20H8Br2HgNa2O6, that forms a red solution when dissolved in water: used as an antiseptic and as a germicide. [1940 45; MER(CURIC) + BROM(O) + IN2] * * * ▪ antiseptic       … …   Universalium

  • merbromin — noun Etymology: mercuric + brom + fluorescein Date: 1941 a green crystalline mercurial compound C20H8Br2HgNa2O6 used as a topical antiseptic and germicide in the form of its red solution …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • merbromin — The disodium salt of 2,7 dibromo 4 hydroxymercurifluorescein; an organic mercurial antiseptic compound that also has staining properties similar to those of eosin and phloxine, with strong affinity for cytoplasmic structures; also used… …   Medical dictionary

  • merbromin — n. chemical substance that is used as an antiseptic and a germicide (Chemistry) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • merbromin — mer·bro·min …   English syllables

  • merbromin — mer•bro•min [[t]mərˈbroʊ mɪn[/t]] n. pha a green, water soluble powder, C20H8Br2HgNa2O6, that forms a red solution in water: used as an antiseptic and as a germicide • Etymology: 1940–45; mer (curic) +brom (ine) + in I …   From formal English to slang

  • merbromin — ˌmərˈbrōmə̇n noun ( s) Etymology: mercuric acetate + dibromofluorescein : an iridescent green crystalline mercurial compound C20H8Br2HgNa2O6 made from dibromo fluorescein and mercuric acetate and applied topically as an antiseptic and germicide… …   Useful english dictionary

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