The term “dirty money” is most often related to their origin and legality. But for modern science, money is dirty quite literally.
Paper carriers with which they all handle can be a real paradise for a huge amount of microorganisms, many of which are pathogenic or disease-causing.
What do the Data Say?
According to data from the European Central Bank, standard banknotes can be in circulation from 8 to 15 years depending on their denomination. The paper on which it is usually printed is filled with multiple micro cracks and bumps for which different types of bacteria can be retained. Hold in hand or in a pocket, bacteria gain access to body heat and moisture to help them grow and multiply at high speed.
Study in Swiss Confirms: Money can be contaminated by Pathogens
A similar study, conducted in Switzerland in 2008, found that 95% of the banknotes in circulation were contaminated to varying degrees by a variety of pathogens: Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enteritidis and even HCV – the cause of hepatitis C. Scientists say each banknote is between 120 and 150 thousand bacteria.
The study also found that the influenza virus can survive 2 to 17 days on paper money.
How to Protect from Bacteria on Money?
Is there protection? Although the likelihood of dirty money being infected is not great, it is not at all small. Every year, out of over 200,000 cases of hepatitis C in the UK, about 5,000 of them are associated with HCV-infected vapors. Hand hygiene is especially important – after handling money, use at least a wet handkerchief, it is desirable to wash hands with hot water and soap.
Experts advise to completely avoid the practice of sputum / licking of fingers when counting money, as this increases the likelihood of pathogens changing many times.
Microwaves are not the only pollutant found by banknote researchers. In a 2010 survey, a British team surveyed 5000 banknotes collected from a variety of locations: from the vegetable market, taxis, mall, gas stations, and more. In 99% of the banknotes surveyed, traces of … cocaine were detected.