Does dirty money make us ill?

U.S. $5 bill

VIRGINIA, April 24, 2014 —A comprehensive yet unpublished study at New York University called the “Dirty Money Project” has revealed that currency — one dollar bills for this study — has up to 3,000 types of bacteria on each note.

Only 20 percent of microorganisms can currently be identified because of the non-human DNA discovered have yet to be identified and cataloged in genetic data banks and the human percentage of identified DNA ranged from 27-48 percent.

The study identified, in part; bacteria that are antibiotic resistant, food borne illnesses, food poisoning, skin infections Gastric ulcer and diphtheria, pneumonia, staph and comparable British studies show e.coli levels comparable to toilet seats.

An alarming discovery is that bacteria actually grow on money and that a “body temperature wallet is a petri dish” according to Philippe Etienne, managing director of Innovia Security PTY, LTD., a company that makes special bank notes for 23 countries.

A U.S. one-dollar bill is printed on cotton and linen blend and has about 21 month life so to make cash more durable, countries such as Canada are printing notes on flexible plastic polymer film that does not absorb pathogens but some studies show what pathogens do take to the note can remain longer than the cotton and linen note.

NYU research analysis showed about 1.2 billion DNA segments taking 320 gigabytes of digital storage to store the genetic data with DNA as diverse as New York itself.

Some of the non-human DNA were from horses, dogs and wilder beats and some traces of anthrax were identified.

Money has long been a source of bacterial threat, and such studies were long overdue. As the exchange of currency is now a global process, greater amounts and kinds of pathogens are expected to be found and the prospect of pathogen transference can be abated by keeping hands clean and away from the facial area, particularly if handling cash is a job necessity.


Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based psychotherapist

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