Want to Know What Crazy Germs & Drugs Are on ATMs?
Everyone knows money carries tons of germs. Anything that changes hands between multiple people is going to be gross. Common sense also states that there must be lots of bacteria on ATM keypads. Hundreds of potentially grimy strangers touch them on a daily basis. But would you have assumed 80% of dollar bills have traces of cocaine on them? EIGHTY PERCENT! And do you know scientists can tell what kind of food is most commonly eaten before trips to the ATM? A new study breaks down the numerous disease-causing viruses and other crazy stuff that can be found on cash machines and ATM dispensed money.
According to Popular Mechanics:
In April, a new study identified over a hundred different strains of bacteria on dollar bills circulating in New York City. Some of the most common bugs on our bills included Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria known to cause acne, and Streptococcus oralis, a common bacteria found in our mouths.
The research team, led by biologist Jane Carlton at New York University, also discovered traces of DNA from domestic animals and from specific bacteria that are associated only with certain foods.
A similar study recovered traces of DNA on ATM keypads, reflecting the foods people ate in different neighborhoods. People in central Harlem ate more domestic chicken than those in Flushing and Chinatown, who ate more species of bony fish and mollusks. The foods people ate transferred from fingers to touchscreens, where scientists could recover a bit of their most recent meals.
We don’t leave only food behind. Traces of cocaine can be found on almost 80 percent of dollar bills. Other drugs, including morphine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamine, can also be found on bills, though less commonly than cocaine.
Granted, cocaine use is probably much higher in a city like New York than in a Jackson, Mississippi. But those micro-bacterias aren’t exclusive to large cities with bright lights. On a side note, after learning this information I will probably stop putting my ATM card in my mouth. Probably.