Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/166

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Further quotation from this circular letter aptly describes this recent agitation: "There has been much talk on the subject, but no 'do,'" for Mr. Morrison gives no experimental evidence as a basis for this agitation, but says "the statistics regarding germs and microbes found on coins and bills are from one of the most eminent chemists of New York/' who, at the instance of Mr. Morrison, made an especial investigation and found that money is one of the most effective ways by which contagious diseases are disseminated, especially loathsome diseases and "the white man's plague."

The statistics, as given, are from the Research Laboratory of the Board of Health of New York; pennies averaged 26 living bacteria each; dimes, 40; moderately clean bills, 2,250, and dirty bills, 73,000 living bacteria each. In order to have these statistics at first hand, I wrote to Dr. Park, of the Research Laboratory, who informed me that the only study made upon bacteria on money, in his laboratory, was completed some years ago. He also said: "We found paper money to be similar to other paper and rags and capable of carrying living tubercle and diphtheria bacilli for some days or longer. We have never found any evidence whatever of the actual transfer of disease through money."

Mr. Morrison outlines clearly his plan for clean sanitary bills and coins: (1) a much larger issue by the government of bills of small denominations, so that there shall be plenty of new money to redeem the old; (2) free registry of all bills sent to the treasurer of the United States for redemption; (3) the establishment in all states of central government stations to which money may be sent by all banks to be cleansed and polished; (4) the antiseptic cleansing by all banks, stores and corporations, of all coins and bills passing through them; and last, that every individual cleanse and disinfect all money which he receives.

I certainly agree with Mr. Morrison that the government should issue enough new bills of small denominations to replace the old, and that it would be a good plan to allow the people to cooperate in the redeeming of the old bills by making the registry of all bills sent to the treasurer for redemption, free. As for the establishment in all states of government stations for cleansing money, would the expense involved be justified, when we consider that not a single case is on record where an infectious disease has been transmitted through soiled money? Is there any method known whereby we can sterilize a stack of tightly bound bills; or will each bill be sterilized separately, perhaps by being spread on a continuous belt passing through a disinfecting solution? And would not the process of sterilization greatly diminish the (non-bacterial) "life" of a bill?

When one bank official of New Haven was informed about the suggestion that banks, stores and corporations should sterilize all money