Home > Lifestyle > Environmental Health > 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 FDA bans e-cig liquid products that look like snacks and candies 2018-09-12 19:00 More: Environmental HealthNews 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 Lifestyle 5 recent discoveries about periods that could literally change your life News Limpopo health dept says ready for cholera patients coming into SA from Zim Diet and nutrition Lose weight, lower cholesterol and avoid a heart attack with these tips Sex The painless 'G-Shot' injection will give you much deeper orgasms Medical Raising awareness for childhood cancer Medical Could my baby be lactose intolerant? From our sponsors Dementia and Incontinence: what you need to know Tell-tale signs you need a mattress upgrade Keen to win a R2 000 voucher? Good health begins in your gastrointestinal tract Live healthier Looking younger » Can maple leaves help you look younger? New research has found that maple leaf extract can help you look years younger. Killer foods » Wild mushrooms a 'silent killer' Health practitioners are warning people to stay away from wild mushrooms.