Banknotes dirtier than a toilet seat - or why you should better trust in impartial information

May 10, 2012 – Banknotes are ‘dirtier than a toilet seat’ – with that shocking news London scientist Dr Ron Cutler, senior lecturer at the school of biological and chemical sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, surprised the media. In a small study he had analysed 200 banknotes and 45 credit cards. He reported that 80% of the banknotes and 78% of the credit cards bore traces of bacteria. 26% of the banknotes and 47% of the credit cards showed high levels of Coli bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus. Some of the analysed objects were so contaminated that they carried more bacteria than an average toilet seat.

The press and cleaning companies received these results enthusiastically. However one may be inclined to take the conclusions with a pinch a salt when one hears of the circumstances which led to the study. The research has not only been conducted because of scientific motives but also to promote the film ‘Contagion’.

The central theme of ‘Contagion’ is a pandemia caused by a lethal virus. The shocker describes the human reactions to the invisible danger of death. Production costs add up to US$60 million. In these dimensions a publicity gimmick like Dr Ron Cutler’s catchpenny study did certainly not burden the budget.

If you want to know what money does really contribute to the spread of diseases, you should rather download the first issue of the MintWorld Compendium. There Frank Vriesekoop gives an account of his longtime research on money as disease transmitter.

Here is the download link to the MintWorld Compendium issue of ‘Coins and Good Health’.

The next issue of the MintWorld Compendium is dedicated to the topic ‘Collectors’. From May 14, 2012 it will be available at

If you are interested in technical and marketing aspects of circulation and collector coins, why don’t you subscribe to the MintWorld newsletter? You can subscribe directly here.

A real shock you can get yourself by watching the trailer of the film ‘Contagion’. To do so, please click here.

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