Is Canada’s Plastic Money Actually Melting?

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Looks like Canada’s spiffy new plastic bills might not be able to take the heat. Literally.

According to news reports from the Toronto Star and the National Post, the country’s new polymer $50 and $100 bills are melting. Several people have said that the new bills are fusing together when placed next to a heat source – like a toaster oven.

The Toronto Star confirmed that one Halifax man put his wallet down on the oven while toasting a bagel and then noticed the three $100 bills had crumpled to size of a “Coke bottle.”

(MORE: Paying with Plastic: Canada Introduces Polymer $100 Bill)

Canada is not the first country to introduce plastic money: other countries like Australia and New Zealand have long used similar materials. The Canadian $100 plastic bill was introduced last November and the $50 bill made its own introduction early this year, after presumed de rigeur testing. According to the National Post:

…The banknotes were boiled, frozen and run through washing machines. A tumbling mechanism filled with coffee grinds, marbles, bolts and synthetic sweat was meant to simulate the effect of being left in a pocket.

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, is nonplussed about the reports. In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, the bank stated “[We have] encountered no evidence that polymer bank notes are being affected by heat as has been suggested in recent news reports. Bank notes printed on polymer material have been used in many countries for years, most of which have climates far hotter than Canada.” The bills are built to withstand temperatures up to 140° C.

(MORE: For Nicaraguans, New Currency Is a Hot Potato)

(A Toronto Star reporter reportedly put four plastic bills in a laundromat dryer for 40 minutes to test whether the bills would melt. They came out unscathed.)

On the other hand, Mona Billard reported having to exchange eight plastic bills back in January after her son put in the money in a tin can and left it near a baseboard heater. She had to return them to the bank to exchange the melted bills.

“The leather couch is up against the baseboard heater, it doesn’t melt,” she explained to the Post. “The kids’ toys are back there, they don’t melt.”

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

17 comments
TerranceC
TerranceC

I don't know about Canadian Summers but I do know about Texas Summers. Leaving your money in the car seems common... it seems like leaving Canadian money in a car on a hot summer day (especially with heat like Texas, Arizona, Nevada etc) would destroy these bills.

John Smith
John Smith

its not just heat if u place a couple drops of water on the bill and press another one against it they stick together no one will be able to tell the two bills are one 

OMG_I_DISCOVERED_FIRE
OMG_I_DISCOVERED_FIRE

 What a shoddy piece of journalism.... must be a very slow day in the newsroom....

*NEWS FLASH* Guess what?!!! If you put your hand in boiling water you'll get burned!!!

Anthony James
Anthony James

In regard to those who shrunk their banknotes may i suggest add salt and water and they may go back to their original shape!

Australians hated the polymer notes for all of a couple of years before they got used to them.

Do Canadians always cook their money?

infaredvisions
infaredvisions

@Anthony James wow, funny man huh,  that's how we stay THIN , rather then TAKE OUT . us CANADIANS, put different things to the test for a lil thing called Q&C , oh you don't know what that is,k its called QUALITY AND CONTROL. different methods SIMULATE different ENVIROMENTS . WHEN its snows in Canada we use "SNOW REMOVAL MACHINES" when it snows in the U.S.A. you use " FARM PLOW MACHINES "  .  cough cough.... when you boil money or put it in a dryer for rapid heat exposer, you still have the whole note in one piece thus you "CAN" replace it, if FIRE was used as a method for rapid heat exposer , its would " DE MOLECULRIZE the note. im ANXIOUS to know the method the AMERICANT would use for rapid heat exposer! oh I know SONS OF GUNS, RAPID FLAME THROWER 5000 , WITH A DAMN LAND MINE GRANADE WHILE THEY SHOOT THERE OWN HELICOPTER DOWN, YAAA MMHMMM! racist TROLLS. we can play ruff too, JUST REMEBER WHO IS MAKING YOUR LIFE JACKETS AND RAFTS, WHEN YOU GUYS SINK, IN YOUR OHIO CHILI BOWL.

Qayos
Qayos

@infaredvisions it amuses me that this is "playing ruff" in Canada.  It's always a fun day to listen to subjects talk big about how awesome they are.

And I believe you meant "damn land mine GRENADE while they shoot THEIR own helicopter down"

Also Canadian isn't a race, so I can't be racist.  Nobody asks "what race are you......Canadian"  Well nobody I know.  Perhaps race means something different up north? 

As for what to remember....Just think most of the world looks at Canada as America Junior, if something bad were to happen you'll be happy we all got our Sons of Guns, Rapid Flame Thrower 5000 with our damn land mine grenade launchers with the super turkey puncher mach 6 attachment to protect you all from the evils of the world.

Have a Nice Day, eh.

betaray100
betaray100

My girlfriend works at a bank. They HATE the new money. You can't fold it and if you do you can't straighten it. People complain ALL DAY LONG about how they melted some when they accidentally put it through the dryer. This is a huge problem and articles like this are nothing more than PR. Seriously, she has to listen to people complain about them ALL DAY LONG!

Tammy Hanes
Tammy Hanes

. So I guesse if the bills melted in a can beside a heater they would not withstand a fire in a house even if the money was in a safe. Melting money. Hmmmm....

Dennis Universeguyd Faucher
Dennis Universeguyd Faucher

Way to sensationalize guys! Gee, I'm so worried about my bills melting. You see, I often keep my wallet in the oven while it's not in my pocket. Generally my oven is kept at 150C. Now, because of this design flaw, I'm going to have to stop baking my pants! Or at least keeping the temp below 130. 

Seriously though; slow news day?

Danyz
Danyz

Why would anyone put their wallet on the oven? 

betaray100
betaray100

Why wouldn't anybody put their wallet on the oven? People put all sorts of stuff on the oven. The article didn't say IN THE OVEN, it said ON the oven. It's just more counter space.

infaredvisions
infaredvisions

@betaray100 hey I think I know why the Americant sy that, because they don't have a upright piece to the stove that holds the button controls, there still using the wood burning oven lmaooo. thus being putting you wallet on a 475 degree stove, for sure it would not only melt the cards, the cash but  your whole leather wallet just turned into a fine 5oz sirloin, just give it a good 45 to the right and flip once, lmaoo.

Danyz
Danyz

Hello, yes, I can read. I saw the ON part. No need to cue me to the obvious. I am impressed by your grasp of prepositions.

Rob Drover
Rob Drover

Borderline short-bus special, I guess?

Danyz
Danyz

Well here's a thought: We sometimes do really dumb things after one drink too many...

BoxOfSnoo
BoxOfSnoo

 Exactly... you'd think they would worry about credit cards melting too.

infaredvisions
infaredvisions

@BoxOfSnoo Credit Cards Plastics - PVCAThe plastic the credit cards are made of is polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA). What exactly is PVCA you may ask? PVCA is a composition of copolymers of vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride. This material is dense and water resistant, which makes it perfect for making credit cards and bank cards in general. When polyvinyl chloride acetate is combined with plasticizers (additives that increase the plasticity) it produces elastic material which is fairly durable. and withstand high temperatures at a curtain degree,  there thicker!