Table of Contents
- What is pH?
- How are pH and Health Related?
- Why Is the pH Value of Drinking Water Important?
- What Changes in pH Levels of Drinking Water Mean?
- Acidic Water
- Alkaline Water
- What Is the Best pH for Drinking Water?
TDS and pH of drinking water are crucial parameters for determining water quality. TDS or the Total Dissolved Solids in water is a well-known and simple aspect to understand. Yet, many people are not aware of the significance of the pH value of their drinking water.
What is pH?
pH stands for potential hydrogen or power of hydrogen. It is an instrument that measures hydrogen ion concentration in liquids and solutions. In simple terms, the pH level measures the acidity or alkalinity of liquids like water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Anything lower than 7 is considered acidic, and basic or alkaline if the pH is above 7.
How are pH and Health Related?
The Digestive System
The digestion of food requires hydrochloric acid, which is a substance that is produced by the digestive system. The acid assists in the digestive process without causing any harm to the stomach or other organs. But if there is an excess of acid present inside the human body, it can lead to several health issues. These include indigestion, irritation, and pain.
Enzymes are substances that trigger chemical reactions inside the body to break down the nutrients one consumes. Proteins break down into amino acids, carbohydrates into glucose, fats into fatty acids, etc. High or low pH levels of these enzymes can cause delays in these processes.
The human mouth is home to several kinds of bacteria that break down the sugar in the foods one consumes and converts it into acids. These acids in turn help lower the mouth’s pH levels. But if the pH levels fall too low, the acids become stronger. This leads to tooth decay and corrosion.
Why Is the pH Value of Drinking Water Important?
The pH level affects the chemical properties of water and how it reacts to other substances. pH can impact the colour, odour, and taste of water as well. The pH value of drinking water may vary depending on several factors. These include its source, climatic conditions, etc.
Water that falls outside the normal pH range of drinking water is not necessarily unsafe. pH level in drinking water is significant as it affects the chemical properties of the water. For instance, high pH levels in drinking water can build mineral deposits. But low pH levels can dissolve materials like metals. Very high or low pH of drinking water can also make the water unusable.
What Changes in pH Levels of Drinking Water Mean?
- Extremely high or low pH levels may indicate heavy metal or chemical pollution.
- Very high pH levels may impart an unpleasant taste or smell to drinking water. It can also damage pipework and appliances that use the water.
- Water with low pH can corrode metal pipes. It is also more likely to be contaminated and unsafe for consumption. There is also a possibility that the water is corrosive, which allows metals to leach into the water.
- Highly alkaline water makes absorbing essential minerals difficult for the human body.
- Changing pH levels can impact the efficacy of water treatment processes. This can potentially have a severe impact on one’s health.
- Drastic changes in the pH of drinking water can make the chemicals in the water toxic.
It is crucial to keep a check on the pH of tap water and drinking water supply on a regular basis.
Lower than normal pH levels in water make it acidic. Acidic water may lead to several unwanted and sometimes dangerous effects. Low pH levels can be caused by several factors. These include acid rain, microbes, roots, certain rocks, industrial pollution, chemical dumps, landfills, etc.
- The high acidity and heavy metal contamination make acidic water unsafe for consumption. Possible side effects include:
- The water may have high levels of heavy metals, like zinc, arsenic, lead, copper, etc. It can cause toxicity and heavy metal poisoning.
- Acidic water can also impact dental health, affecting the enamel of one’s teeth. It increases the risks of tooth decay.
- Exposure to heavy metals like arsenic, chromium, and cadmium has been known to have a negative impact on bone health. It is also a popular belief that consuming acidic water makes it difficult for the body to absorb calcium over time.
- Apart from the negative impact on health, acidic water is also bad for the plumbing. Acidic water can corrode the pipes while increasing the amounts of heavy metals present in the water.
Alkaline water has a higher pH level than regular drinking water. Several types of contaminants like pollutants, minerals, etc. can increase the pH level of water. The most common being hydroxide, carbonate, and bicarbonate compounds. Drinking natural alkaline water is generally safe as it contains natural minerals. However, it does involve a few side effects:
- High pH levels can make water taste and smell bad.
- It accelerates the wear and tear of appliances.
- It can lead to the formation of mineral deposits in the plumbing.
What Is the Best pH for Drinking Water?
Distilled water has a pH of 7. In general, the normal pH value of water should not deviate too much from neutral. As per the specifications provided by the Bureau of Indian Standards and the World Health Organisation, the normal pH of drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.
The weather, natural phenomena, and other activities can all impact the pH of the tap water you receive. The normal pH of water can vary significantly.
- pH of tap water may vary greatly but is typically somewhere around 7.5.
- Distilled RO (Reverse Osmosis) Water has pH values between 6.5 and 7.5.
- Regular mineral water has a pH value between 6.5 to 7.5
- Bottled alkaline water, as the name suggests, has a higher pH, of around 8 to 9
- The pH of ocean water is somewhere around 8.
- Instances of acid rain show lower pH values of around 5 to 5.5
Regular pH checks for the water supply can significantly help ensure access to clean and safe drinking water. Based on the quality of the water, proper water treatment solutions like can also be implemented.