“Not only is there a difference between the paper money and plastic currency, but there’s also a difference in where we collect the paper money from,” Dr. Shannon McQuaig said.
McQuaig and a small group of students who volunteered for the project called “cash or credit: spreading the wealth of virulence genes,” said they discovered the bacteria MRSA on both cash and credit cards.
McQuaig said 80 percent of the dollar bills gathered from non-hospital areas had MRSA and 50 percent of credit cards also tested positive.
“We want the public to know that credit cards aren’t as clean as you think they might be,” McQuaig said.
“I really didn’t think that it would be on as many credit cards and dollar bills as we’re finding,” biology student Rich Nichols said.
But, so far, the study shows that cash coming from health care workers or hospital cafeterias is much cleaner.
“We’re finding about 20 percent of the dollar bills that we’re collecting from hospitals are contaminated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus – also more affectionately known as MRSA,” McQuaig said.
“We’ve found that most of the hand soaps in hospitals contain an anti-microbial compound called triclosan and triclosan actually kills bacteria. So they’re washing their hands and then touching the money and it’s not getting as contaminated.”
McQuaig said she decided to focus on MRSA because it’s resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin and methicillin and can be extremely problematic for people with weak immune systems. …
Funded by GSK, maker of triclosan? … and/or credit card companies and government agencies who want to track you and outlaw cash? 😉
Triclosan is commonly used as antimicrobial agent and preservative in soap and other cosmetics. This bioaccumulative chemical has been found in our bodies, in breast milk and in the environment. It is an endocrine disruptor with cancer concerns – a serious problem for public health, especially for pre-teens and teens …
March 28, 2012. The Canadian government is set to declare the bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply in Canada. Triclosan, the chemical in question, has been linked to numerous human and environmental health effects and has been the subject of petitions calling for its ban from consumer products.
Health Canada has been probing the effects of triclosan on the body’s endocrine system and whether the antibacterial agent contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance along with the effect of widespread use on the environment. The draft risk assessment finds triclosan to be toxic to the environment but but does not find enough evidence to say it is hazardous to human health. The formal proposal to list the chemical as toxic to the environment will be published Friday.
Triclosan exploded on to the marketplace in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products. While antibacterial products are marketed as agents that protect and safeguard against potential harmful bacteria, studies conclude that antibacterial soaps show no health benefits over plain soaps. The scientific literature has extensively linked the uses of triclosan, and its cousin triclocarban, to many health and environmental hazards. As an endocrine disruptor, triclosan has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development, and also shown to alter thyroid function. Triclosan is not only an endocrine disruptor found at increasing concentrations in human urine and breast milk, but also contaminates waterways and possibly even drinking water. Despite industry claims, triclosan is not very effective against harmful bacteria, including those found in hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has found that triclosan is present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. population, with concentrations that have increased by 42% since 2004. USDA scientists found that triclosan is only slowly degraded in biosolids and persists at low levels in the environment for long periods of time. …
… Here are tips to help keep MRSA and foodborne illnesses in check without turning to toxic products:
• School yourself on proper hand washing. The FDA, following the lead of several study recommendations, says proper hand-washing techniques are your best bet at combating MRSA, E. coli, and other germs. The trick is to wash your hands often, especially before and after handling food, and to wash with soap and water for 20 seconds. You don’t need to rely on hot water to do the germ killing—it’s actually the friction and soap that annihilate the germs and cause them to slide off of your hands. Read more on Proper Hand-Washing Techniques.
• Avoid the thyroid-wrecking ingredient. While it may be tempting to turn to antibacterial soaps to protect your family from MRSA and other infections, it’s best to use just regular plant-based soaps and water. Triclosan, the main ingredient in most antibacterial soaps, is linked to thyroid problems and even the rise in the drug-resistant superbugs you’re trying to rinse off.
• Sanitize safely. Although hand washing is most effective, if you opt for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, make sure the alcohol content is at least 62 percent. And be sure to read the ingredients label. Avoid products with artificial dyes and fragrances—these man-made ingredients have been linked to health problems, too. Of course, you can always be adventurous try to make your own vodka-based hand sanitzer. Just make sure no one’s abusing it. (Currently, the FDA is not going after alcohol-based hand sanitizers that make similar germ-killing claims. Maybe that’s because even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when hand washing is not possible.)
• Be beach smart. MRSA’s turning up on beaches, according to research presented at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting in 2009. To prevent MRSA from mangling your vacation, stay out of the water if you have cuts on your body, cover them before lying in the sand, and try to get a shower as soon as you leave the beach.
• Find safer meat. Think MRSA on beaches is surprising? It’s in your supermarket, too. A recent analysis found that about half of supermarket meat and poultry harbored staph bacteria, some of it MRSA. That’s because most supermarket meat comes from concentrated animal-feeding operations, also known as CAFOs or factory farms, where antibiotic use is high and the animals are exposed to germs in close quarters. A solution is to buy less meat so you can afford the more expensive organic, grass-fed meat and poultry products.