Home > Lifestyle > EnviroHealth > News 23 September 2013 Holy water in Austria unsafe to drink Holy water at religious shrines and churches in Austria is often contaminated with faecal matter and bacteria, researchers have found. 0 iStock Related Water pollution What causes cholera? Soap agent found in fish from contaminated water Start A Health24 blog » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Test Are you envirohealth savvy? » Ask EnviroHealth Expert » Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet movie trailer The amazing mountains on Pluto Holy water at religious shrines and churches in Austria is often contaminated with faecal matter and bacteria, researchers have found, advising the faithful not to drink it, especially in hospital chapels.Scientists at Vienna University medical school's Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology came to the conclusion after analysing the water quality at 21 "holy" springs and 18 fonts at churches and chapels at various times of year.Only 14% of the water samples from holy sources showed no faecal contamination, and none of the springs could be recommended as a source of drinking water, the study presented to a conference in Vienna this week found.Result of poor hygiene The springs held not only faecal contamination – likely the result of poor hygiene – but many also had agricultural nitrates and bugs that can cause inflammatory diarrhoea."We need to warn people against drinking from these sources," microbiologist Alexander Kirschner said in the study.Kirschner said the healing effects ascribed to holy sources arose from the hygienic conditions of the Middle Ages, when water quality in urban areas was generally so poor that people constantly contracted diarrhoea or other conditions."If they then came across a protected spring in the forest that was not as polluted and drank from it for several days, their symptoms would disappear. So although in those days they were drinking healthier water, given the excellent quality of our drinking water today, the situation is now completely reversed."The study noted some ways to help address the problem, including regularly replacing holy water in church fonts. One Italian priest has invented a holy water dispenser that dispenses drops of holy water rather than having the faithful dip a hand in, it noted. NEXT ON HEALTH24X Humans correctly identify sick peers from a photo 2018-01-10 12:30 More: EnviroHealthNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Diet and nutrition What is the Candida Diet and will it improve your health? Medical You can still save your heart if you are middle-aged and out of shape Lifestyle 3 foods you must eat if you’ve ever smoked Mental health Why some people freak out about belly buttons Medical 'Dead' man snores back to life right before his autopsy Fitness What's the deal with pain after exercise? From our sponsors Managing diabetes in the workplace Back-to-school with diabetes Discover treatments that can help reduce acne What can I do to reduce or remove acne marks? Live healthier Fact or myth? » Clearing up the confusion around coconut oil Coconut – the 'fruit of life' Can coconut oil really help you lose weight? Experts dish on the high-cal weight-loss tactic. Sobering perks! » 5 tips to avoiding a hangover Can you really be allergic to alcohol? Is giving up booze for a month actually worth it? Many people commit to "Dry January" – but does it do your body any good?