BETHESDA, Md. (CBSDC) — Beware the holy water. A new study finds it is often contaminated with fecal matter and bacteria.
According to Reuters, Vienna University researchers analyzed the water quality at 21 “holy springs” and 18 fonts at churches and chapels and concluded that people should not be drinking holy water.
“Of the holy springs investigated, only 14% met the microbiological and chemical requirements of national drinking water regulations,” the study states. “Considering results from sanitary inspections of the water catchments, no spring was assessed as a reliable drinking water source.”
Microbiologist Alexander Kirschner said people need to be warned about the dangers of contaminated holy water.
“Public awareness has to be raised to perceive holy springs as potential sources of illness. Holy water can be another source of infection, especially in hospital chapels and frequently visited churches,” the study says.
The study calls for churches to regularly replenish holy water in order to avoid illnesses among its congregation.
The study was published in the Journal of Water and Health, which is based out of Bethesda, Md.