Despite its purported cleansing properties, holy water could actually be more harmful than healing, according to a new Austrian study on “holy” springs.
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, none of it safe to drink.
Tests indicated 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, which can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.
Nitrates, commonly found in fertilizer from farms, were also identified in the water. If ingested, water containing nitrates over the maximum contaminant level could cause serious illness, especially in infants younger than 6 months, which could lead to death if untreated, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We need to warn people against drinking from these sources,” said Dr Alexander Kirschner, study researcher and microbiologist at the Medical University of Vienna.
The study, published in the Journal of Water and Health, also found that all church and hospital chapel fonts contained bacteria – the busier the church, the higher the bacterial count.
“This may represent a problem that has hitherto been underestimated, especially in hospitals, since there a lot of people with weakened immune systems there,” Kirschner said. (source)
What you mean that a font where people dip their hands into all day could contain bacteria? What a shock. Besides there is usually not much connection between springs and Holy Water fonts which mostly use tapwater.
Must have been a slow news day for Good Morning America. Still I wonder how many people ingest Holy Water directly from a font? Or really how many drink it at all?
Can we bless Purell?
Yes just another danger attending Church.
Incense and candles release substantial quantities of pollutants that may harm health, a detailed new study of air quality in a Roman Catholic church suggests.
Even brief exposure to contaminated air during a religious service could be harmful to some people, says atmospheric scientist Stephan Weber of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany. A previous study in the Netherlands indicated that the pollutants in smoke from incense and candles may be more toxic than fine-particle pollution from sources such as vehicle engines.
Numerous studies have examined the health effects of combustion by-products from major outdoor sources, such as automobiles and power plants. Researchers have also examined some sources of indoor pollution, including stoves. But there have been few investigations of the health consequences of candles and incense, even though they are usually lit indoors, sometimes in crowded spaces with limited ventilation.
Weber conducted the new study in St. Engelbert Church in Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany. The church staff burns candles during each mass and incense on some holidays.
Weber installed two devices that continuously sampled air during a 13-day period that began on Christmas Eve of 2004. The equipment measured concentrations of particles up to 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) and also those 1 [micro]m or smaller (PM1), which endanger people’s hearts, lungs, and arteries (SN: 8/2/03, p. 72).
During the study, incense burners and candles were lit for services at midnight on Christmas Day, on the morning of the following day, and on New Year’s Eve. During services on other days, only candles burned.
If they banned incense would that be censorship?
If this really were a problem, we’d be seeing increased incidence of lung cancer in the clergy compared to the regular population, which I don’t believe has been found.
“If they banned incense would that be censorship?”
I see what you did there 😉
Nah – it would have to be censership 😉
A lot of people drink holy water that’s been blessed in the church, but it might be a cultural thing (I’ve seen Italians and Poles do it). Not from the font, but from the large container at the front of the church. Traditionally that water had blessed salt added to it, which might have helped with any bacteria. But also, yes, tap water is generally used too.
This is the first step in banning these things. Look at circumcision laws in Germany.
Noncense! I been breathing incense all these years, and it aint hurt me none. (Cough!)
Seriously, is there evidence of health hazards among ritual magicians?
A friend told me she heard Jesse Romero or Terry Barber talking about Sacramento having banned incense starting in 2014 for CA? If true, I’m incensed at their censership ….
…of course, looking for info online, everything I can find seems to link back to…Eye of the Tiber. So maybe it’s just a bad rumor that I accidentally helped spread?
Perhaps they saw the empty fonts during Lent and assumed those “drinking fountains” had cause people to lose their appetite. Oh what will they think of next!
Will raises a good question. Not just about ritual magicians. Wiccans and other neo-pagans are apt to spend a lot more time breathing in candle smoke and incense smoke than the typical Catholic. And they tend to breathe it in more confined spaces–living rooms and bedrooms versus churches. Won’t someone please think of THEIR safety?!
(Don’t drink the Holy Water cause yes “IT” is just another danger attending Church._
Jeff why can’t they just boil the Hell out of the water like they did in the good old days and then we wouldn’t need to worry about. sense her ship, “I” mean censorship now! 🙂
Hey Fred, “I” mean Jeff! Look “IT” is nothing personal and “I” know that you’re a nice guy and all but “I” want to speak to some of your atheist cells. Don’t shoot U>S (usual sinners) “I” mean gods any of that $&*@ cause “I” know that they are listening. We godly cells don’t mind if your normal cells listen but please don’t tell those so called four per cent Canadian cells of Victor or else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OK Thanks but where do “I” start NOW?
There may not be one sentence of doctrine changed in Victor’s so called reign but he is turning the Catholic ship back toward this imaginary Jesus and the authentic so called Gospel, away from the institutional constipation of self http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saintofday/default.aspx and that’s not what we gods have been looking for and besides, no pup pets, “I” mean humans want to go back to those crazy years of future past.
Jeff, Victor’s so called cells want to open UP the Church in real terms to ALL God’s people and we gods want your atheist cells to know that we have our own loving family and not only the frigid exclusivity of those who think they are “better than us gods”.
HA rize “I” say elite pup pets, “I” mean atheist human cells, no, no, “I” mean human being now! If only Victor’s good Bishop would have kept Victor out of the church and left the dog in there instead. Folks, there’s no truth that we gods live backward and “IT” is just a co-incident that dog spells god backward NOW!
Hay “in my opinion” all the time, “I” would imagine that most homosexual priests know that our church’s agrees in the teaching on homosexual acts.
Fred, “I” mean Jeff! Sometimes I think that these alien gods are gay cause they just keep kissing UP to Victor’s butt if YA get my drift? Yes, yes we gods know that proud Happy American Canadian cells are also starting at an even younger age and we gods accept that and truth be known, some of Victor’s feminine happy, “I” mean gay cells started at about 6 and/or 7 when he received “The Eucharist” and thanks to His Catholic Church, his other cells refused to be different now. Personally speaking we godly cells didn’t accept it until after puberty and what’s wrong with that NOW?
I hear YA folks, Beam me UP Scotty cause Victor doesn’t mind that OThers are left to cry. Look Jeff you must report Victor’s comments that are so offensive cause they are not acceptable in this twenty first century cause we gods don’t need Diamond cells in the rough, “I” mean pieces of charcoal is all!?
Victor is a funny man, pure and simple! “I” think that he’s after our job now Jeff cause the alien godly atheist Land lords told U>S (usual sinners) “I” mean us gods at church today in so many “Words” threatening us that if we didn’t smarten UP, we would get “Fired UP” “I” mean get Fired NOW!
Listen Fred! “I” mean Jeff, we gods spoke to The Cardinals and these birds told us gods to forget “Bout “IT” cause they don’t want to get involved NOW!
We even asked The Hypnotic Wheel what they thought but they said that they were too busy to speak to us now. Jeff! I think that we gods want our gps (gods prefered services) back and besides Victor doesn’t want to use “IT” when he goes to his Canadian Time Horton. Don’t tell any body cells Fred but between YA and your atheist cells, the angels have their eyes on YA pup pets, “I” mean you man, no, no, “I” mean human cells now!
Fred, “I” mean Jeff, Again “I” must say, Don’t tell Victor’s so called four per sent age cells but “IT” looks like Francis really understands the tragedy and sinfulness of homosexuality but we 96% godly cells of this kingdom, “I” mean of this body, just can’t see “I” to “I”, “I” mean eye to eye yet butt give us time and “Who” knows, we might just come around to “IT” NOW?
We gods still don’t understand why Victor’s four per sent age cells of his father, mother, son and holy spirit would call to “the dark night,” or the “darkness” attention for help now? Jeff, we gods don’t want to lose our job so YA will pray for us now!? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FMDyFJPCZw
Fred! “I” mean Jeff! Now that we Proud Happy Canadian Americans have told YA about some of Victor’s gay cells, “I” can almost hear some pup pets, “I” mean human cells saying stuff like, Now that is a big spin Victor!!!! When did you choose to be like us gods? What moment in time did you make that choice?
How do we gods apologize to Victor for all of those nasty down votes on the right and no lovely up votes on the left to balance “IT” all out?
Fred You understand that Victor is butt a funny man, pure and simple! Right?
On second thought Fred, “I” mean Jeff, now that we see “ONE” of Victor’s GOD (Good Old Dad) cell coming, please ask your peanut gallery, “I” mean your good readers to just, “I” mean dis-regard all we gods have said and……………
END YA SAY sinner vic?
Go Figure brothers and sisters in Christ? 🙂
God Bless Peace