Philippine Peso Coins and Banknotes

Philippine Coins and Banknotes

Antibacterial Banknotes

It’s not hard to imagine just how dirty banknotes are. They are exchanged from one dirty hand to another, get dirty wet in markets, fall on dirty soil, and come in contact with other dirty money. We fold them, crease them, roll them, crumple them, even split them in half, thus wearing out their structure and providing more attachment surface for bacteria and fungi. No matter how dirty they become, we never throw them away nor even attempt to disinfect them with Lysol or alcohol. We just keep using them and they get dirtier and dirtier. It will not be surprising if someone can prove that banknotes are significant mediums for the spread of contagious diseases among people. Someone even said that banknotes should carry a government health warning.

It is good to know that the New Generation Currency of the Philippines is printed with Bioguard technology by Arjowiggins. Bioguard produces banknotes that are treated to prevent bacteria from multiplying. The anti-bacterial property has been tested to resist washing and will last throughout the lifetime of the banknote.

Here is a screenshot from their slideshow showing the difference between treated and untreated paper 24 hours after inoculation with E. coli bacteria.


How did they do this? They don’t say how, but most likely the banknote paper is treated with metallic ions which are known to have a wide range of antibacterial properties. Most notable among these ions is silver although copper, zinc, and other ions may also have been used. These ions inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

So now, could we rub our hands on our banknotes instead of washing before eating? Maybe not, unless you’re willing to hold the banknote and let your food wait for 24 hours. But still this is a welcome feature to keep our banknotes cleaner and safer for the public.