Ever gone to a church or other religious location and wondered about the hygienic properties of the Holy Water? If not, then we think 99% of the world has not had that thought, either — but some folks in Vienna, Austria recently DID have that thought and, well, yuck!
An article on water quality on the Reuters web site the other day revealed that a good number of Holy Water sources may have received other worldly blessing but not the right kind to keep bacteria from multiplying and standing a chance of making worshipers sick.
Scientists at Vienna University medical school’s Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology examined the quality of water produced by 21 water springs considered blessed (or holy) the water quality at 21 “holy” springs and 18 fonts at churches and chapels at various times of year.
- Researchers found that bodies of Holy Water located in various religious buildings often contained detectable levels of fecal matter.
- One should avoid drinking water Holy Water — especially in hospital chapels, apparently. (Wait, do people actually drink Holy Water in hospital chapels?)
- Less than 1/5 of the water springs deemed as ‘holy’ could pass as safe drinking water due to fecal contamination, nitrates, and/or parasites.
The article also discussed water quality issues found in common church features called ‘fonts’… which we had never heard of before. Apparently a font holds the Holy Water in which babies get baptized and in some churches that water does not get changed as often as it should.
Moral of the story?
Potential water quality issues surround us on a daily basis and if not careful, we can easily slip up and expose ourselves to unwanted drinking water contaminants. In the case of drinking water in our homes we do not have to tolerate that risk.
Regular testing of our drinking water — just to make sure nothing has changed since the last test — helps to keep us well apprised of our water quality situation, helps guide us in the correct direction if considering installing a water filter, and helps us make sure installed water filters continue to function as expected.