Monash study suggests rainwater is safe to drink

Nov 04, 2009

A world first study by Monash University researchers into the health of families who drink rainwater has found that it is safe to drink.

The research was led by Associate Professor Karin Leder from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in conjunction with Water Quality Research Australia (previously the Cooperative Research Centre for and Treatment).

"This is the first study of its kind. Until now, there has been no prospective randomised study to investigate the effects of consumption, either in Australia or internationally," Associate Professor Leder said.

The study involved three hundred volunteer households in Adelaide that were given a filter to treat their rainwater. Only half of the filters were real while the rest were 'sham' filters that looked real but did not contain filters.

The householders did not know whether they had a real filter. Families recorded their health over a 12-month period, after which time the health outcomes of the two groups were compared.

"The results showed that rates of gastroenteritis between both groups were very similar. People who drank untreated rainwater displayed no measurable increase in illness compared to those that consumed the filtered rainwater," Associate Professor Leder said.

Adelaide was the location chosen for the study as it the city with the highest use of rainwater tanks in Australia.

Associate Professor Leder said some health authorities had doubts about drinking rainwater due to safety concerns, particularly in cities where good quality mains-water is available.

"This study confirms there is a low risk of illness. The results may not be applicable in all situations; nevertheless these findings about the low risk of illness from drinking rainwater certainly imply that it can be used for activities such as showering/bathing where inadvertent or accidental ingestion of small quantities may occur.

"Expanded use of rainwater for many household purposes can be considered and in current times of drought, we want to encourage people to use rainwater as a resource," she said.

Source: Monash University (news : web)

Explore further: China punishes hospital for operating room photos

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rainwater tanks pose risk for toddlers

Aug 20, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- An increase in household rainwater tanks due to the severe drought and accompanying water restrictions across Australia is creating a new hazard for parents of young children.

Older filters, fresher water

Nov 26, 2007

Scientists in Australia have discovered that the older the water filter the better when it comes to reducing the off-putting earthy taste of some tap water. Writing in the Inderscience publication International Journal of ...

Recommended for you

China punishes hospital for operating room photos

6 minutes ago

Chinese health authorities put a hospital president on probation and fired three other supervisors following public outrage over photos posted online of smiling medical staff posing with patients in the middle of surgery.

Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India

2 hours ago

Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.