Most American Paper Money Carries Traces Of Cocaine

In 2009, chemists discovered that up to 90% of American paper money has cocaine on it. The study found that cocaine residue was most widespread in large U.S. cities, such as Baltimore and Detroit. Researchers also tested banknotes from other countries, including Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan. China and Japan had an average contamination rate of between 12% and 20%, whereas 85% to 90% of the money from the U.S. and Canada was contaminated. These percentages increased since a similar study conducted just two years prior, when it was found that about 67% of U.S. bills held traces of cocaine. Learn how it got so widespread, and more surprising facts about money, with these videos.

Cocaine On Money

How did it get so widespread?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing tests the durability of dollar bills with washing machines, cement mixers, and crumple tests. 00:37

  2. In 2009, chemists discovered that roughly 90% of paper money in the U.S. has cocaine residue on it. 01:42

  3. Infrared inks are used to hide secret features in bills, which makes counterfeiting more difficult. 02:43

How Much Of Our Money Is Fake?

Here's how the government prevents counterfeiting.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Before a national currency was adopted in 1862, American state banks produced their own currency. 00:29

  2. 60% of the counterfeit money confiscated in the U.S. in 2014 was printed on inkjet or laser printers. 01:02

  3. "Superdollars" are counterfeit notes that are of even higher quality than bills created by the treasury. 01:38

20 Surprising Money Facts

There are 168 different currencies in the world. Here's what you need to know about them.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The word "buck" originates from a time when buckskins were used as currency. 00:39

  2. India's "worthless" zero rupee bank note serves as a tool of protest against bribery and corruption. 02:26

  3. The ridges on the sides of coins were originally intended to keep people from scraping bits of precious metal off the edges. 06:15

Written by Curiosity Staff December 18, 2015

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