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New Plastic Bank Notes Could Be An Infection Risk

September 16, 2013
Public Health

The Bank of England?s consultation on whether to begin the use of so called ?plastic bank notes?, made from polymer fibre, has taken an unexpected turn after a study by Dutch and Turkish scientists pinpointed a possible infection risk. The research carried out on the Romanian leu, which is produced from the same material that is being proposed in the UK, showed that certain bacteria were still active 24 hours after being detected on notes. Tests showed that bacteria were less capable of surviving on other currencies including some that use the current linen-fibre mixture which is found in five and ten pound notes.

Dr Habip Gedik, co-leader of the study, was quick to play down any public fears over the issue pointing out that there are many other influences over infection rates; ?There are other factors such as other people, pollution, poor hygiene. We never become ill just taking bugs from banknotes. But we should take into account that we can be contaminated and we should clean our hands after touching them and other probable contaminated material.? During the trials, which involved volunteers rubbing their hands on the money to see how many bacteria were spread, E.coli was found to remain active for up to 6 hours on the plastic notes, whilst MRSA was still present after 24 hours.? ?

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