Money is Icky

germ-virus-md2 Past studies have been confirmed, and it’s worse than we thought. Physical money carries thousands of different kinds of germs.Easily the most abundant speciesgerm-virus-md 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. ‘It was quite amazing to us… We actually found that microbes grow on money’… Using a DNA technique, researchers found bacteria, viruses, fungi and plant pathogens… DNA from horses and dogs—even a snippet or two of white rhino DNA.” http://on.wsj.com/1jpxzTV

germ US_$1_1862_Legal_Tender

A dollar from 1862 – think of how much has grown on this bill. Wikipedia public domain

A move to polymer films reduces microbe growth initially, but since the oils from our fingers feeds the germs every time we touch a bill, I suppose plastic money will end up just as bad. Gold, like many metals, has an antibiotic effect (at least, on bacteria), so perhaps the “gold standard” people are cheering. But maybe this is just another reason to use your cell phone to buy things.germ-virus-md3

The research was performed at NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and has not yet been published in a scientific journal, so while the findings are too cool to pass up, accuracy-wise we better keep our fingers crossed. Thanks to http://www.clker.com/ for the germ clip-art.

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