So, how dirty is money? Well, that depends on where you are.
If you’re in Australia, where the money is made of a germ-repelling synthetic polymer, or Japan, where cash can be heat-sterilized by an ATM, then chances are your cash is pretty clean.
If you’re stateside, your cash is dirty. “Debbie Does Dallas” dirty.
It’s fine. The Fed has a special machine that gets rid of most dirty money.
Studies of paper currency found that smaller denominations get the most use and the most germs, but larger bills are also perfect hosts for critters like fecal bacteria (guys, really?), E. coli, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, tape worm and Ascaris lumbricoides-or as you may know it, GIANT ROUNDWORM.
Also, the more worn and wrinkled the bill, the older the cash, and the more germs that are likely to be calling it home.
Don’t worry, though. If you refuse to pack plastic like a normal person, there are safeguards in place. The Federal Reserve weeds out the really nasty stuff with a special machine that scans bills in circulation for “soil content.”
And, as long as you don’t lick your cash, rub it into the membranes of your eyes, or inhale it so deeply that you dislodge bacteria and parasites from it and into your lungs, you should be fine.
How Do We Know All This? Cuz we’re brilliant. Also:
30% of U.S. currency has doo-doo on it. Thanks for that, Creditnet.
Paper currency’s hospitality to massive bacterial infestation is oddly understudied, according to the Journal of Environmental Health.
Science News reports on Slick Bucks Down Under (pics included!). Not to be confused with the Thunder from the same place.
Why you should wear gloves in Bangladesh: The bank notes can give you skin, bone and throat diseases; food poisoning; and carbuncle.
Feel like you want to give your money a good scrub? Here’s how to launder your money (the legal way).
-Erin Barajas, Serious Coin contributor