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Nick Fishman

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According to a new study released by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, about 90% of US bills contain traces of cocaine.  Researchers have said that this could lead to false positive drug test results if the employee handles large quantities of money as part of their job.  It could also lead to claims that cash handling is the reason for a failed drug test.  Imagine Tony Montana coming into your office after failing a drug test, saying “I never used cocaine, it’s because I used to be a bank teller.”  How much cocaine do you have in your pocket?

90 percent of U.S. bills carry traces of cocaine

The term “dirty money” is for real. In the course of its average 20 months in circulation, U.S. currency gets whisked into ATMs, clutched, touched and traded perhaps thousands of times at coffee shops, convenience stores and newsstands. And every touch to every bill brings specks of dirt, food, germs or even drug residue.

Research presented this weekend reinforced previous findings that 90 percent of paper money circulating in U.S. cities contains traces of cocaine.

“When I was a young kid, my mom told me the dirtiest thing in the world is money,” said the researcher, Yuegang Zuo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “Mom is always right.”

Scientists say the amount of cocaine found on bills is not enough to cause health risks.

Money can be contaminated with cocaine during drug deals or if a user snorts with a bill. But not all bills are involved in drug use; they can get contaminated inside currency-counting machines at the bank.

“When the machine gets contaminated, it transfers the cocaine to the other bank notes,” Zuo said. These bills have fewer remnants of cocaine. Some of the dollars in his experiment had .006 micrograms, which is several thousands of times smaller than a single grain of sand.

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Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
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