Money has been the subject of many studies, most of them showing it is covered with bacteria. A recent video from the Cleveland Clinic discussed a study from England which found bacteria on the hands of 11% of people tested, on 8% of the credit cards tested, and either 14% or 6% of paper money [the accompanying story was contradictory].
This is old news. A 2012 study from the European Cleaning Journal [not a peer-reviewed journal] found that 26% of paper money, and 47% of credit cards showed "high levels of bacteria including E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus," and "around 80% of banknotes and 78% of credit cards tested showed traces of bacteria, and some carried more germs than [wait for it…] the average toilet seat."
For those of you new to the field of culturing everything in sight, the toilet seat has been the gold standard for comparison of contamination as I noted in a 2013 post.
A Cleveland Clinic infectious disease physician, who appeared very uncomfortable on camera, advocates washing hands "as much as possible" or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Since I'm not aware of too many epidemics caused by contaminated money or credit cards, I wonder if it might actually be worse to obsessively wash hands and use sanitizers.
It's almost 2015. I can't remember the last time I handed my credit card to someone. The state of the art is the machine that lets you swipe it yourself.
But there's a groundbreaking new development noted in a recent article headlined "Public Restrooms No Germier Than Your Home."
Investigators studied four restrooms after giving them a thorough cleaning. Then they allowed access to the public and periodically cultured surfaces such as toilet seats, soap dispensers, and floors.
Although at first fecal bacteria colonized all the surfaces, bacteria found on human skin cells gradually took over. It turns out that fecal bacteria can't survive for long outside of the intestines. "Restroom surfaces are dry, barren and resource-poor," the researchers concluded. "As such, these surfaces probably do not support considerable microbial growth."
"Overall, the research suggests that the restroom is no more healthy or unhealthy than your home," the lead investigator said.
This puts the lid on the toilet seat as the bacterial contamination benchmark. I have alerted the Nobel Prize judges.