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Study: ATM Keypads In NYC Covered In Bacteria

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The next time you withdraw cash from an ATM, you might want to wash your hands.

New York University researchers tested keypads at more than 60 automated teller machines in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.


"Our results suggest that ATM keypads integrate microbes from different sources, including the human microbiome, foods, and potentially novel environmental organisms adapted to air or surfaces," said senior study author Jane Carlton, director of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology and professor of biology at NYU. "DNA obtained from ATM keypads may therefore provide a record of both human behavior and environmental sources of microbes."

The most abundant bacteria was normal human skin microbes. Kate from the West Village told 1010 WINS Andrew Falzone, she figures it's harmless.

"I ride the subway, that stuff is everywhere," she said.

Researchers also found bacteria from fish, chicken and mold associated with spoiled baked goods, apparently coming from meals that remain on a person's hand and are transferred to the keypads.

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