Nugget of Knowledge: Dirty money

Dollar bills can carry oils, bacteria and even traces of cocaine

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – From the University of Michigan School of Public Health: How dirty is your money?

Our money is made of a blend of cotton and linen. It’s porous so tiny things can get stuck in it.

As you handle your dollar bills, your hand can transfer dead skin cells, oil and bacteria onto the paper. As many as 3,000 different bacteria, but nothing we haven’t seen yet.

Besides your dead skin cells and a bit of oil, there’s not much for bacteria to eat. They only survive for a couple of days on the bill, so the bacteria you find usually reflects the last person to touch it within the last day or so.

Our skin is an excellent barrier, so don’t worry about handling money, unless your skin is broken. If your immune system is compromised because of chemotherapy, then take some precautions when thumbing through a stack of old bills.

Washing your hands should get rid of any lingering bacteria you’ve picked up from money, or cocaine that hitchhikes on bills. Call it money laundering.

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