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There’s a world of germs below your fingertips. Yep.
Dollar bills travel far and pass through many hands.
One and five-dollar bills change hands an average of 110 times annually. And these bills have an average life span of more than five years.
With each stop, millions of tiny passengers hitch a ride onto your dollar.
In 2017, a science journal released a study that looked at the microbes on one-dollar bills from a Manhattan bank.
The study found all kinds of microbes camping out on our paper money. Yes, that means bacteria and viruses.
The bills they studied traveled across New York City.
When you pick up a dollar, imagine shaking hands with all the people who owned that dollar before you and their little friends.
In 2002, researchers in Ohio gathered money from a grocery store’s checkout line and the concession stand at a local high school’s basketball game.
In other words, there’s a kingdom of bacteria living on your cash.
Cleaning our money
So how do we clean our money?
A 2013 study suggests washing our dollars. Researchers used a special kind of carbon dioxide for the cleaning that wouldn’t damage the bills.
Another solution might be changing dollars from their current mix of linen and cotton to some type of polymer according to this 2010 study.
Each time a bill is passed along, it picks up new bacteria. There’s been concerns that cash might spread COVID-19. Thankfully, most places take card or contactless payment.
We don’t hate cash, but, at least until we’re out of this pandemic, leaving it in the bank may be the safest way to go.
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