How Dirty Is Your Money?

money_1By analyzing genetic material on $1 bills, the NYU researchers identified 3,000 types of bacteria in all — many times more than in previous studies that examined samples under a microscope. Even so, they could identify only about 20% of the non-human DNA they found because so many microorganisms haven’t yet been cataloged in genetic data banks.

Easily the most abundant species they found is one that causes acne. Others were linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections, the scientists said. Some carried genes responsible for antibiotic resistance. (WSJ)

Comments (13)

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  1. Logan P says:

    Wow, reading this post makes me want to stop using cash. You know bills are dirty, but I never imagine they were this bad.

    • Bill B. says:

      You can probably thank most of the U.S. “gentlemen’s clubs” for most of the filth on our paper money.

      • James M. says:

        “By analyzing genetic material on $1 bills…”

        Maybe they skewed the data by only analyzing $1 bills. They will obviously be filthier than say, a $50, because of this reason.

  2. Chris says:

    I wonder if circulating cash when it is in the bank through a UV sanitizer would have any effects on infection rates. Or hey, a cash register. Put a little light in the drawer cabinet of a cash register than blinks on for 5 seconds every time after the drawer is closed.

    I’d also be curious how pennies stacked up against other coins, considering the natural antimicrobial properties of copper (and by the way, every touch surface in a hospital should be switched from stainless steel to copper, because science!)

  3. Matthew says:

    Yes, our money is probably disgusting. But how many people are getting sick from it? Sanitizing our money is going overboard.

    • Thomas says:

      We have to have something to keep our immune systems high. If we sanitize everything, then the next bug that comes our way will shut our bodies down.

      • Jay says:

        So the inevitable transition from cash to cards will either be the best or worst thing to happen to us based on the perspective.

    • Raul K says:

      Maybe sanitizing is going overboard, but taking advantage of new technology such as plastic-like bills, might help decrease the transmission of diseases through cash. It will also make the bills more durable which will balance the additional production costs.

  4. Conspiracy Theorist says:

    Maybe all the bacteria in the bills are an attempt of the pharmaceutical companies to spread disease across the world, thus improving their own business. When you think about it, makes sense. That is why the most common bacteria are the one that causes acne; they are infecting the people to make them seek treatment.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    Could money laundering actually be preventive care?

  6. Bubba says:

    Our money is probably dirty because money laundering is a crime!

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