Rainwater safe to drink, says a Study from Melbourne


Researchers from Monash University here who looked at 300 households that used rainwater as their primary drinking source said consumption of untreated rainwater is harmless as commonly believed.
As part of the study, the first of its kind, all the homes were given filters to treat their rainwater and the other half were given 'sham' filters that did nothing.
The families recorded their health over a year, and the researchers found that the rate of gastroenteritis (a common infection of stomach) cases recorded by these two groups were very similar.
It also matched the broader community who drank treated tap water, The Age reported.
Professor Karin Leder, who led the study, said health departments had been reluctant to endorse drinking rainwater due to fears it was susceptible to contamination with micro-organisms and chemicals.
"People who drank untreated rainwater displayed no measurable increase in illness compared to those that consumed the filtered rainwater," she said.
Leder, however, made it clear that the results might not be applicable in all situations and it depends on the cleanliness of the storage tank and hygienic condition.
The results mean that rainwater use should be expanded in the future, especially during droughts, she added.

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