Spiritual cleansing has gotten dirty, according to reports.
Rather than containing healing properties, most water from “holy” springs in Austria is apparently so contaminated with fecal matter and nitrates that it is unsafe for drinking, a microbiology report has warned.
The water used in fonts in churches and hospital chapels also shockingly contains 62 million bacteria for every milliliter of holy water, a study by the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the MedUni Vienna has claimed.
Microbiologists analysed the water quality in a total of 21 “holy” springs, as well as 18 fonts in churches and hospital chapels in Vienna at various times of the year, it was revealed in the study.
Stomach-churningly, only 14% met the microbiological and chemical requirements of national drinking water regulations – possibly as a result of poor toilet hygiene, Medical Express said.
The springs contained not only fecal contamination with E. coli bacteria and enterococci, but also Campylobacter, which can cause inflammatory diarrhea, experts claimed.
“We need to warn people against drinking from these sources,” microbiologist Alexander Kirschner said in the report.
In the study, he recommends that the appropriate authorities and priests put up warning signs and display the history of the holy springs.
“Holy water in churches and chapels may cause infections via wetting of lips and sprinkling on persons,” he warned.
The report is not the first time the healing properties of holy springs have appeared to no longer hold true.