How dirty is the money?

Potentially dangerous banknotes act as a medium that binds bacteria from other environments, with a large number of pathogens attached to them, some of which may cause death to the infected person.

In order to study the microbial transmission pathways between humans and how antibiotic resistance spreads around the world, researchers at the University of Hong Kong collected various banknotes at hospitals and subway stations with different population densities and scraped the bacteria on their surfaces. research. Before the experiment, the researchers were not sure whether the microbial community could survive on the banknotes, and found that the banknotes did provide an environment that could adapt to the survival of living bacteria.

The study’s report was published in the international academic journal Microbiology Frontier. Dr. Li, one of the main investigators, said the results were very shocking because they had three points among the bacteria identified on the banknotes. More than one is composed of potential pathogenic species, among which the more common pathogens include Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae, and some germs can even directly cause death to the infected person.

At the same time, the researchers also compared microbial samples from banknotes and other environments, and found that the unit bacteria on the banknotes compared to the microbes found in the air, drinking water, people’s hands and marine sediments. The amount is much larger than the number of bacteria in the environmental sample. In addition, the research team also found highly genetically rich antibiotic resistance genes on paper money, which may lead to the spread of antibiotic resistance to humans and other environments, posing serious health risks.

Dr. Li said: “Because banknotes are often in contact with human hands and various environments, the banknotes contain various bacteria from different environments, as well as dirt and moisture in the hands of people, which leads to the inclusion of more than other banknotes. Environmental samples have more antibiotic resistance genes, and more potential pathogens.” Dr. Li and his team hope that through this research, people will be better aware of the potential threat of currency circulation to global public health.

At the end of the research report, this group of experts from the University of Hong Kong also made some suggestions: “Before the cashless society, the government and banks should pay special attention to the monetary health problems commonly used in people’s daily lives, such as the currency. Regular regular disinfection, or public service advertisements to remind people, after touching the currency, must pay attention to hand washing, as well as promote more electronic payment services including mobile payments.”

| Will you wash your hands after you touch the money? |
In fact, before the University of Hong Kong study, researchers have long discovered that the dirtiest thing in the world is not feces and sludge, but coins, especially paper money. In 2014, MasterCard sponsored a study of bacteria on paper money at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Scientists tested the currency notes in the Eurozone and found that there were 26,000 bacteria on each banknote, even those that looked very good. There are also tens of thousands of bacteria on new, very clean paper money. There are also potentially dangerous bacteria, such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter, and some flu viruses can even survive on paper money for two weeks, providing conditions for the spread of the flu in the crowd.

The study also found that although people know that after a long period of circulation, the banknotes must be contaminated with a lot of bacteria, but only one-fifth of Europeans remember to wash their hands after touching the banknotes. According to statistics, although 69% of Spaniards know that money is dirty, only 17% of Spaniards really wash their hands after they have touched the money. Behind this phenomenon, in addition to the public’s lack of health awareness, there may be some psychological factors, as the American psychologist Donna Dawson said: “Money, whether it is coins or paper money, as a modern society A symbol of economic ability always represents some positive meaning in people’s minds, so it is difficult for people to associate it with negative things.”

In addition, Dawson also found that although people know that the money is dirty, but do not remember to wash their hands after touching the money, because many people do not feel that they will get sick because they touched the money. In some people’s concept, although the money is very dirty, once it is spent, the bacteria on the money will leave with the money. They did not expect that many bacteria on the money will remain in their own. On the finger. Everyone knows that sharing toothbrushes, handkerchiefs, door handles and faucets in public places are at risk of infecting bacteria, because these things have been used by others, but they seem to have forgotten that at least the common door handles and faucets are regularly Cleaning, and the banknotes have never been cleaned since the beginning of circulation.

The picture shows three scholars from the University of Hong Kong, mainly studying how the bacterial community on paper money spreads among humans. They found that when people use drugs directly to take drugs, the risk of getting a virus through the respiratory tract is the highest.

In some people’s concept, although the money is very dirty, once it is spent, the bacteria on the money will leave with the money. They did not expect that many bacteria on the money will remain in their own. On the finger.

| DNA of fungi, anthrax, drugs, dogs, horses and rhinos |
In addition to bacteria, there are many unexpected things on the banknotes. In April 2017, an article was published in the academic journal PLOS ONE, in which New York University biologist Jane Carlton was quite shocked after studying the traces left on various banknotes in New York City. the result of.

In addition to the expected variety of bacteria, viruses and fungi, Carlton found that the most common species on paper money are P. acnes and oral streptococci, the former being known as acne and the latter being common in the mouth. bacterial. At the same time, there are a lot of DNA left in the paper and the DNA of the animal. In addition to the common dogs, cats and horses in the animal DNA, Carlton also discovered the DNA of an extremely rare white rhinoceros. No one knows why white. The rhinoceros DNA will appear on the banknotes circulating in New York City.

Among them, the most shocking thing is that 80% of the banknotes in New York City can find traces of cocaine. Other drugs commonly found on paper money include morphine, heroin, amphetamine and ice. Many addicts have the habit of rolling up paper money directly to take drugs. According to statistics, these addicts use four different banknotes every day to take drugs. The hobby of drug addicts is traces of drugs. One of the reasons why the banknotes are so rampant. In fact, coins are the most authentic portrayal of people’s life trajectories. There are traces of narcotic drugs on a large number of banknotes, and it also reflects that the drug abuse problem in New York City cannot be underestimated.

| Drug-dyed paper money |
The situation in the Eurozone is also not optimistic, and researchers have also found traces of cocaine on banknotes circulating in the Eurozone. As early as the summer of 2006, many Germans found that the banknotes they took out from the ATMs were fragmented, and the public suspected that a large amount of euros were contaminated with acidic substances. At that time, Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, urgently called experts to analyze and identify the pollutants on the banknotes, which would eventually lock the “culprits” of banknotes to crystalline methamphetamine. , that is, ice.

Subsequently, the researchers found that the euro banknotes circulating in Germany found that 9 out of every 10 banknotes contained a certain amount of cocaine. These drug-dyed banknotes were also passed through the money counter and ATM. Contaminated “other banknotes. According to Professor Fritz of the Nuremberg Pharmaceutical Research Center in Germany, which began researching the composition of euro banknotes very early, as early as 2002, only two out of every 70 papers in Germany were able to detect traces of cocaine.

In the UK, scientists at a mass spectrometry company have sampled more than 2,000 20-pound and 10-pound banknotes from banks in nine cities and suburbs of the UK, and concluded that there are only about 300 of the approximately 2 billion banknotes in circulation in the UK. Ten thousand banknotes were not contaminated with drugs. Even some of the banknotes circulating in the suburbs and rural areas of the UK have not been spared, and previously it was only in big cities like London that banknotes were poisoned.

In Spain, researchers studied coins collected from supermarkets, gyms, pharmacies and newsstands in cities such as Barcelona, ​​Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, and Serbia, and found that nearly 94% of the coins were on the coins. Traces of cannabis and other narcotic drugs were found. Since the climatic conditions in southern Spain are very suitable for growing certain varieties of cannabis, the trade in cannabis in Spain has become increasingly rampant in recent years, making Spain the most serious country in the EU. The study also found that the amount of cocaine found on paper money circulating in Spain was almost 100 times higher than found in Germany.

| Terrible currency infection |
People who like to play games should have heard of an online game called “Environmental Blockade”. This game is a shooting and role-playing game launched by Ubisoft in 2016. The background is set in the Thanksgiving shopping season. After Friday, a deadly virus spread quickly through the currency in the crowd, causing the outbreak of the epidemic in New York, the infrastructure to go one after another, and the society was completely out of order and entered a chaos.

In order to promote the game, Ubisoft also launched a web page called “currency infection”. To put it simply, “currency contagion” is an interactive web page where the player can scan through the camera or enter the first 5 digits of the currency to find out how many masters have been transferred. How many kilometers have passed before finally reaching you? In its hands, and its “dirty index”, it includes the number of potential bacteria on it, the risk index of infection and the degree of “urinary trace”. Some European players scanned a few 10 Euro and 20 Euro denominations from their pockets and found that the number of bacteria on the banknotes was more than 25,000. The risk of infection and the degree of urine were high. Let the players be shocked.

The reason why Ubisoft will create such a webpage for “The Whole Blockade” is precisely because the currency contagion is closely related to the background of the game. In the game, the large-scale infection of the virus in the crowd is spread through money. Although such a game story seems to be far away from our reality, it can be very unpleasant to think that the money in my pocket is full of bacteria and urine stains.

| Polymer Plastic Currency and Virtual Currency |

As shown in the figure, the plastic polymer used to make the banknote is not easy to stick to other substances, and it is not easy to absorb the oil on people’s skin. It is lighter and more hygienic to use.

As more and more governments are aware of the potential risks of traditional currency flows to public health, some countries have begun experimenting with new polymers to make plastic money, which has higher anti-counterfeiting properties than traditional currencies. The materials used are also more environmentally friendly.

As shown in the figure is the hepatitis C virus, which can spread through the banknotes and enter the human body.

Among them, Australia was the first country to use plastic money. Among all the face value currencies currently circulating in Australia, except for coins, plastic banknotes made of polymers. This kind of plastic banknote is cleaner and more solid than traditional banknotes, and it will hardly be damaged. Even if it accidentally falls into the clothes and enters the washing machine, it will not wrinkle after washing, and it is the same as the new one.

The plastics used to make these plastic banknotes are not ordinary plastics, but a high-tech fiber-free polymer. The banknotes made of this polymer are close to traditional banknotes in texture, and there is no fiber or no fiber. Pore, anti-static, anti-oil, anti-counterfeiting and other advantages. According to Australian media reports, although this plastic banknote is twice as expensive as traditional banknotes, it has a lifespan of at least four times that of traditional banknotes. It has non-stick, non-absorbent qualities and can be recycled. Therefore, the use of such plastic banknotes is more environmentally friendly than conventional banknotes.

In 2013, the UK also announced that it will issue new plastic banknotes from 2016. The new banknotes will retain the design appearance of traditional banknotes, including the Queen’s head and a series of historical portraits, but the material will be polymerized. Replace traditional banknote paper. According to British media reports, the Bank of England had sought public comment before making this decision, and 87% of the tens of thousands of respondents were in favor of using plastic banknotes.

However, although many countries have begun to try to use plastic currency, it is too early to say that it can completely replace the traditional currency. And from the current social trends, people are increasingly tending to cashless transactions in consumption, that is, using credit cards or other mobile payment services. Therefore, whether it is a plastic currency or a traditional currency, it may become an “old antique” in the wallet in the future. After that, people only need one card and one mobile phone to complete all the payment.