Tainted Holy Water
Water is one of the most abundant resources on the planet. Earth’s surface is over 71% water. There is water in the oceans, lakes, rivers, aquifers, in the air, plants, and even our bodies are mostly water. Water is used everywhere in almost every industry from the service and hospitality industry to the agricultural industry to steel and plastics manufacturing. Many religions use water in rituals after it has been blessed by a religious leader and are often exposed to many potential contaminants, the greatest of which is man. Recent reports and studies have shown that holy water is not exempt from contamination either, so you should be careful when dealing with holy water at churches and chapels as well as in the home.
Every Roman Catholic is familiar with the concept of, and the uses of holy water. When a member of the clergy or a religious figure, prays over and blesses water it becomes holy water. This water is used for baptisms, spiritual cleansing, and sacraments, in fonts at the entrances of churches and for cleansing evil spirits. The use of holy water is practiced in religions which range from Catholicism, to Christianity, to Sikhism.
Reports of tainted holy water
There have been many recent studies which confirm that holy water is commonly tainted with fecal matter. According to researchers at the Vienna University who carried out a study of 21 holy springs and 18 fonts at churches and chapels, people should avoid consuming holy water due to its fecal contamination. They reported only 14% of the holy springs met the “microbial and chemical requirements of national drinking water regulations.”
The 86% of holy water that is commonly used in baptismal ceremonies and for wetting the lips of members of the congregation was tainted with fecal matter. Three of the elements of fecal matter which were found in the water included E. Coli, enterococci, and campylobacter. These contaminants lead to diseases which can cause fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and many other symptoms.
The study of the holy water sources in Austria also showed a high presence of nitrates which can cause severe health issues in children under the age of 6 months. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) these nitrates can even lead to death. The risk of these nitrates and the other contaminants is very high in very religious populations because of the belief that drinking holy or blessed water will cleanse the spirit and rejuvenate the soul. You should always be wary of where you store your holy water and where you put your hands after touching holy water in fonts at churches, chapels and in other places where religious gatherings and holy water is present.
Testing of the water
Often overlooked, the water used in religious services should be tested. It is important to find a reliable and effective company to perform all water quality testing, especially for water that is touched and consumed by so many people. You need to find a company that understands the importance of accuracy in the data produced and whose employees are professionally competent. It is also important to look at their track records in the industry and find a company which strictly adheres to all of the quality assurance standards.
Written by Suburban Laboratories, a company who specializes in safe drinking water testing for municipalities, businesses and homeowners.