Money supply in U.S. teeming with bacteriaAttention germophobes, a new biologists from the Dirty Money Project at the New York University say the dollars in your wallet may be teeming not only with trace amounts of cocaine, but also an estimated 3,000 different types of bacteria.
Although most of them are considered harmless, scientists have found drug-resistant microbes on cash as well as smudges of anthrax and diphtheria. What does this mean? According to scientists, some money might be like a portable petri dish and may be one way that some antibiotic-resistant genes move around cities. Yikes!
The study of our nations money is being conducted by the Dirty Money Project at the New York University where scientists are reviewing how living organisms are living and thriving on our money. The goal of the study is to understand how organisms live on our cotton-based bills, how to keep the dangerous bacteria at bay, and how to help health workers combat dangerous outbreaks in New York City.
Money with germs is no reason to panic
What do the scientists say? Scientists agree there is no reason to panic. "We're not trying to be fear mongers, or suggest that everyone goes out and microwave their money," Carlton tells Shots. "But I must admit that some of the $1 bills in New York City are really nasty."
Scientists are still collecting information they have collected about bacteria and other germs on U.S. currency, but they have given some preliminary information. So far the most common microbes are cash are those that cause acne, followed up with skin bacteria and other bacteria which may be helpful rather than harmful. Other microbes include those found in the mouth and vagina, which means not only are consumers licking their fingers when they count dollar bills, they are also using the restroom and not washing their hands.
Some of the most dangerous bacteria scientists have found are those which do not respond to antibiotics including penicillin and methicillin. Anthrax is also found, but scientists have concluded the types found are not the weaponized version but rather the type found in soil and commonly transferred by farmers or other workers.
Could U.S. currency be cleaner and free from microbes?
There has been some discussion about what can be done to make cleaner currency. For example, Canada uses polymer film for its money which makes it resistant to liquids and tearing. Scientists are not sure if this substance is better. They have determined that while these bills may have fewer bacteria, the microbes which were present survive longer on polymer-based bills.
So until scientists determine whether America needs to use a different material for its currency or until they construct an ideal material, Scientist urge everyone to wash their hands after touching money to insure they are protected against invisible inhabitants- not to mention washing your hands after using the restroom, before eating, or before preparing food- but surely we already knew that!