Remember the time in science class when you did that experiment with litmus paper and it turned red when you put it on a lemon and blue in soapy water? That was probably your first experiment into the wondrous science of pH.
The indicator for acidity and alkalinity is known as the pH value. A pH value of 7 means a substance is neutral. The lower value indicates acidity, and a higher value is a sign of alkalinity. To better understand the range in pH, take a look at these examples: apple juice 3, orange juice 3.5, coffee 5.5, milk 6.2, baking soda 8.5, soapy water 10, bleach 12.
pH Mean for Water
Basically, the pH value is a good indicator of whether water is hard or soft. The pH of pure water is 7. In general, water with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic, and with a pH greater than 7 is considered basic. The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5, and the pH range for groundwater systems is between 6 to 8.5. Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of the water to resist a change in pH that would tend to make the water more acidic. The measurement of alkalinity and pH is needed to determine the corrosiveness of the water.
A pH level is a measurement of acid-base equilibrium, and that number can indicate whether a substance is acidic or basic. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with levels less than 7 considered acidic, levels greater than 7 considered alkaline, and a pH of 7 considered neutral. To ensure your drinking water is healthy and safe for consumption, you will want to verify that the pH level falls within a specified range.
Why 6 – 8.5 pH is Ideal for Drinking Water
Water with a pH level between 6 and 8.5 is safe to drink because it is neither acidic nor alkaline enough to be dangerous in the human body. Water with a pH of less than 6 can be corrosive and filled with toxic metals. Water with a pH of higher than 8.5 can be hard, which poses less of a health risk than acidic water but can taste bad and leave scale deposits on dishes, sinks, and more.
Is it Safe to Drink Natural Alkaline Water
Natural alkaline water is safe for you to consume. However, it often tastes sweeter than neutral water (thanks to minerals in it), and claims that it offers more health benefits than neutral water — like increased metabolism, cleansed colon, boosted immunity, and more — have not been officially proven.
What is the pH Level of Tap Water
The pH level of tap water depends on where that water is coming from. Places like New York City boast tap water with a pH level of 7.2, while places in the desert, like Las Vegas, Nevada, often have hard tap water with a high pH. Drinking water pH can be affected by things like the composition of an area’s bedrock, the presence of chemical detergents or cleaning agents in the water, and ways that municipal water processing plants choose to treat it.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water
There are several supposed benefits to drinking alkaline water, including the fact that it can neutralize acid in the body, lead to increased oxygen levels in the blood, improve metabolism, cleanse the colon, rejuvenate skin, support the immune system, and protect bones. Many of these claims have not been proven, and the human body tends to be quite successful at regulating its own inner pH.
Other Concerns and Benefits of Water With Different pH Levels
Water with low pH levels is not only corrosive and metallic, it can also leave a blue or green stain on drains, sinks, and more, due to its breaking down of metal (copper) fixtures in your plumbing system. Alkaline or high pH water tends to taste bitter and leave scale. It can also make soap and detergents difficult to lather.
Consuming excessively acidic or alkaline water is harmful, warns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Drinking water must have a pH value of 6.5-8.5 to fall within EPA standards, and they further note that even within the acceptable pH range, slightly high- or low-pH water can be unappealing for several reasons.
High-pH water has a slippery feel, tastes a bit like baking soda, and may leave deposits on fixtures, according to the EPA website. Low-pH water, on the other hand, may have a bitter or metallic taste, and may contribute to fixture corrosion.
Wilkes University points out a further problem associated with drinking water and pH: High-pH water is often hard. They note that hard water “does not pose a health risk, but can cause aesthetic problems.” Among problems associated with hard water, they list formation of scale on fixtures, a bitter flavor, difficulty getting soaps to lather, and decreased water-heater efficiency. They suggest that water can be softened with ion-exchange water-softening devices.
According to a Wilkes University study, the association of pH with atmospheric gases and temperature is the primary reason why water samples should be tested on a regular basis. The study says that the pH value of the water is not a measure of the strength of the acidic or basic solution, and alone cannot provide a full picture of the characteristics or limitations with the water supply.
While the ideal pH level of drinking water should be between 6-8.5, the human body maintains pH equilibrium on a constant basis and will not be affected by water consumption. For example, our stomachs have a naturally low pH level of 2 which is a beneficial acidity that helps us with food digestion.