Not Just Inflation: A Surprising New Risk Of The U.S. Dollar And Other Fiat Currencies

George Washington's picture

Precious metal fans claim that the paper money in your wallet or purse are continually shrinking in value. And see this, this and this.

But it may be making you fat.

Specifically, paper money contains bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2008:

Twenty-one out of the 22 $1 bills tested in California, 17 other states and Washington, D.C., carried small amounts of the chemical….

The American Chemical Society noted last year:

The cash register receipts that people place near paper money in billfolds, purses, and pockets has led to a worldwide contamination of paper money with bisphenol A (BPA) ….


Although a recent study found traces of BPA in U.S. currency, nobody knew until now about BPA in paper money worldwide. The scientists’ analysis of 156 pieces of paper money from 21 countries found that all contained traces of BPA.


The highest BPA levels were in paper money from Brazil, the Czech Republic and Australia, while the lowest occurred in paper money from the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Levels in U.S. notes were about average.

Exposure to BPA substantially increases the chances of obesity. See this and this.

In addition, BPA has linked to diabetes, cancer, metabolic and neurological diseases and reproductive problems.

Many manufacturers have substituted a new chemical – BPS – for BPA. And now BPS is being distributed through paper money.

As Health Day News reported in July (via Yahoo News):

Many people are absorbing high levels of bisphenol S — a substitute for the chemical compound bisphenol A — when they handle cash register receipts and other types of paper, researchers say.




Concerns about the health effects of BPA have led some manufacturers to replace it with bisphenol S (BPS), which is closely related to BPA and has some of the same estrogen-mimicking effects, the authors explained in the study published in a recent issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.




For the study, the investigators analyzed 16 types of thermal cash-register paper, recycled paper and paper currency from the United States, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. They detected BPS on all the receipt paper, 87 percent of the paper currency and 52 percent of the recycled paper.

Science Daily notes:

[A new] report … in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.




BPS is closely related to BPA, with some of the same estrogen-mimicking effects, and unanswered questions exist about whether it is safer.




They analyzed 16 types of paper from the U.S., Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The study detected BPS in all the receipt paper they tested, 87 percent of the samples of paper currency ….

The researchers estimate that people may be absorbing BPS through their skin in larger doses than they absorbed BPA when it was more widely used — 19 times more BPS than BPA.

In fact, many claim that BPS is even more dangerous than BPA.

And that isn't all ... a study published in the Southern Medical Journal, researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio found that 94 percent of the dollar bills tested were contaminated with bacteria.  Much of it was benign, but 7 percent harbored dangerous pathogens, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause infections such as pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin and other infections. Other experiments found the fecal bacteria E. Coli.

So when goldbugs tell you that fiat money is crap ... they may be onto something.

Postscript: While this post is over-the-top, the serious take-home message is that you should wash your hands after handling paper money and especially paper receipts.

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TruthInSunshine's picture

Barbarous paper fiat.

Colonel Klink's picture

I think it's closely realated to Benthiefall-FED

OhOh's picture

Excellent mind altering drug delivery system.

Colonel Klink's picture

They already have that, it's called TV.

bugs_'s picture

wash your hands after handling change also.

look at the checkout people at walmart wearing gloves.

eventually they will be wearing facemasks like everyone in China during SARS

Now this would be an advantage of silver coins - anti-bacterial jingle in your pocket.

WillyGroper's picture

I asked a checker @ Target why the gloves? Fish allergy that could kill her. 

With many recycling paper, BPA is also in ur toilet paper in large amounts. 

The Alarmist's picture

So, Dumb, Fat and Stupid is a way to go through life.

Colonel Klink's picture

Yep and if you tell Amurikans to get in shape, they'll reply.  "Round is a shape, isn't it?"

DOT's picture

Back in the eighties all the c-notes were contaminated with cocaine.

Ah, the good old days...

Careless Whisper's picture

Where's GW? What did you do with GW? How much did you get paid to write this crap? Wash your hands. DUH.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Corporations conduct arbitrage on all facets of human life. In a closed system, a proliferation of corporations will have a predictable result on a finite human biological capacity.

The trend is currently accelerating so get used to it.

akak's picture

I'm more worried about bisphenol-QE.

Intoxicologist's picture

I always tell a cashier to toss my receipt.  I mean, who returns beer?

akak's picture


I mean, who returns beer?

Judging from the lines outside the mens' restrooms at any sporting event, just about everyone.

mayhem_korner's picture



You return it after your liver et al refines it. 

Intoxicologist's picture

You didn't buy that.  (You just rented it for awhile.)

shovelhead's picture

Damn, this is great news.

All I need to do is rub my goods with dollars to keep my balls from hitting that cold water in the toilet.

El Viejo's picture

It's in the lining of cans.

kaiserhoff's picture

Send all your worthless, chemical and bacteria tainted fiat currency to me, and I will dispose of it properly.


eddiebe's picture

Looks like some people are already using dollar bills as toilet paper and snot rags. Fitting.

Intoxicologist's picture

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "filthy lucre."

Hobbleknee's picture

We shouldn't demonize cash because the solution the government will offer is a cashless society, not the PM society that we crave.

Ying-Yang's picture

Barter.. then problem solved.

Skateboarder's picture

Can we go back to all coin please, even if it's tungsten?