All money, it turns out, could stand to be laundered: the stuff is filthy. Studies show that a solid majority of
Also found on bills: fecal matter. A 2002 report in the Southern Medical Journal showed found pathogens — including staphylococcus — on 94% of dollar bills tested. Paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet. And bills are a hospitable environment for gross microbes: viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days. It's enough to make you switch to credit.
To deal with hyperinflation that reached the ludicrous level of 231 million % and saw the price for a loaf of bread hit 300 billion Zimbabwean dollars, Zimbabwe's newly formed unity government — including bitter opponents President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai — issued a $100 trillion note in early January. (One hundred trillion, by the way, is a 1 with 14 zeroes — making the note the highest denomination in the world.)
Just weeks later, however, the leaders decided to back-burner the hugely devalued Zimbabwean dollar and began allowing people to do business in other currencies. The move managed to curb inflation for several months until a small uptick in July. One hopes some of those $100 trillion notes didn't get spent all in one place.