Washington: Holy water, which is known for its purported cleansing properties, could actually be more harmful for your health than healing, a new study has revealed.
Researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna tested water from 21 springs in Austria and 18 fonts in Vienna and found samples contained up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, which is not safe to drink, an English news website reported.
Researchers found that 86 percent of the holy water, commonly used in baptism ceremonies and to wet congregants' lips, was infected with common bacteria found in fecal matter such as E. coli, enterococci and Campylobacter.
The water contaminated with these bacteria can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.
It was found that the water also contained nitrates , commonly found in fertilizer from farms.
The research also suggested that while all church and hospital chapel fonts contained bacteria, the busier the church, the higher the bacterial count.
The study is published in the Journal of Water and Health.