Currency notes move from hand to hand generating dirt and bacteria that make people very uncomfortable to touch them.
But, according to a research by a student of Khulna University, such notes are even more harmful than we think of.
“Taka notes and coins contain bacteria like E. Coli and faecal coliform which are very harmful for health,” reveals the research conducted by Nishat Tasnim, a final-year student of the university’s Environmental Science discipline.
Under the research titled 'Study of the Bacterial Contamination on Paper Money and Coins of Khulna City Area', the notes and coins were tested in laboratories after collecting those from 15 sources in the city over a period of six months.
“In the research, maximum number of bacteria and faecal bacteria were found on notes used by the meat, fish and chicken sellers. Harmful bacteria was also found from the currency notes and coins of 12 other sources,” said professor Abdullah Harun Chowdhury, supervisor of the research.
“Daily life is impossible without money but currency notes are posing a severe health hazard. People are getting affected while eating anything without washing their hands after touching those notes,” he added.
“We've a plan to conduct another research on a wider scale very soon,” professor Chowdhury said.
Referring to the research, professor SM Kamal, head of medicine department at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) said, “The currency notes contain various types of bacteria. Sometimes the currency notes are found on the ground, in trash or in drains. The people concerned use the currency notes after drying those.”
“As per the research report of the Khulna University, some of the bacteria found in notes and coins, may be contained in stool. The bacteria contained in currency notes may cause various diseases if they enter the stomach. They may cause urine infection as well,” he pointed out.
The research revealed that E. coli count in the notes collected from the meat shops was up to 2670, while it was 2600 in notes collected from fish sellers, and 2300 in chicken sellers' one. On the other hand, the E. coli count was 2800 in notes collected from shops selling both meat and fish.
Faecal coliform bacteria count of 2600 was found in the currency notes of meat shops. These two bacteria were also found in denominations collected from other sources, but those were below 1000.
“Besides, 2600 E. coli bacteria was found in the coins collected from the fish sellers, 2480 at chicken sellers, 2600 in juice sellers’ coins, 2130 in meat shop coins, 1790 in the coin of street food shop and 1250 in the coins collected from a fuchka shop,” the research report added.
A count of 2900 faecal coliform bacteria was found in the coins of chicken shop, 2800 in the coins of fish seller, 2660 in the coins of meat seller, 2060 in the coins of fruit seller, 1570 in the coins of street food shops, 1460 in the coins of ‘fuchka’ shop, 1200 in the coins of common people and 1080 faecal coliform bacteria was found in the coins of beggars, the report further mentioned.
However, these two bacteria were also found in the coins collected from other sources. But those were below 1000, which is generally thought to be a safe level, said Partha Protim Debnath, assistant registrar of medicine department at KMCH.