Dirty Money

New York University researchers have discovered some grimy details about your $1 bills … and the findings might make you want to wash your hands more than once.


Researchers at NYU found more than 3,000 different types of bacteria. That’s right – 3,000! Researchers with NYU’s “Dirty Money Project” collected 80 $1 bills from a bank in Manhattan. They found nearly 1.2 billion DNA segments.

And, believe it or not, only about half of that DNA was human!


“From human and dog to horse … and even rare white rhino.”

But NYU says the most common bacteria they found might surprise you even more: “The one they found the most often causes acne.” And to really push you over the top, there’s a lot of bacteria scientists weren’t even able to identify.


“Scientists were only able to identify 20 percent of the germs that live on some dollar bills.”


According to The Wall Street Journal, researchers say other microorganisms found are linked to gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning and staph infections. Jane Carlton, director of genome sequencing where the university-funded work was performed, said: “We actually found that microbes grow on money.”


According to research published last year in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, scientists attempted to grow bacteria on seven different currencies and found some germs lived longer on plastic banknotes.


According to an older report from ABC, one doctor said, “$1 bills are widely used and each is exchanged many times … if some are contaminated with bacteria, there is potential to spread these organisms from person to person.”