Researchers in a world-first study by Monash University in Australia found rainwater is safe for household use.
The study was led by Associate ProfessorKarin
Lederfrom the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in
conjunction with Water Quality Research Australia (previously the Cooperative
Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment).
now, there has been no prospective randomised study to investigate the health
effects of rainwater consumption, either in Australia or internationally,"
The study involved 300 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 homeowners 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.
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," Leder
Researchers chose Adelaide as the location for the
study since it is the city with the highest use of rainwater tanks in
In the announcement, Leder said some health
authorities had doubts about drinking rainwater due to safety concerns, particularly
in cities where good-quality mains-water is available.
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
Study Suggests Rainwater Safe To Drink
November 12, 2009