Dirty Money  – Contamination In your Pocket 

Cash is home to thousands of bacteria and viruses.

By: Richard Rich

Cash, including dollar bills, is known to carry thousands of different types of bacteria and other germs. This is because the paper that money is made of is porous, allowing microbes to get trapped in its fibers. Furthermore, cash is handled by many people, increasing the likelihood of it coming into contact with germs.

Researchers at New York University have identified as many as 3,000 different kinds of bacteria living on 100 $1 dollar bills collected from one bank. These bacteria included E. coli, which can cause food poisoning, bacillus cereus, which can cause food-borne illness, and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections.

Hygienists have long worried that cash could become a source of contagion. A wallet at body temperature is essentially a petri dish, and paper money can reportedly transport a live virus for up to 17 days. Bank tellers, who are required to handle these dirty bills, are at particular risk of coming into contact with germs.

But it’s not just bank tellers who need to be concerned about the germs on cash. Germs thrive in the workplace in general, and just one door handle contaminated with a germ or virus can spread to about half the surfaces and hands of about half the employees in an office within four hours, according to a study at the University of Arizona. This means that within hours of one person touching a contaminated surface, the coffee pot, microwave button, and fridge handle could all be contaminated. The germs can then quickly spread to restrooms, individual offices, phones, and office cubicles.

To avoid spreading germs from cash, it’s important to practice good hand hygiene. This includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water, and using hand sanitizer when water and soap are not available. One product that can be particularly effective at killing germs on your hands is IC hand sanitizing cream. This cream is designed to kill 99.99% of germs on contact, and is gentle on the skin, making it ideal for frequent use.

By using hand sanitizer and practicing good hand hygiene, you can help prevent the spread of germs from cash and other sources. This can not only help protect you and those around you from illness, but it can also help create a cleaner, healthier work environment overall.