Although we’ve been drinking water our entire lives as an essential source of health and hydration, not many people are aware that it can have different levels of acidity.
Here, we offer you a detailed overview of acidic water, its characteristics and causes, and the impact it has on your health.
What is Acidic Water?
Acidity, a term that most of us may be familiar with, is measured using the pH scale. On this scale, acidity ranges between 0 and 7.0, alkalinity is in the range of 7.0 to 14.0, while 7.0 is neutral. Water is considered acidic if it has a pH of less than 7.0.
Therefore, the acidity of water increased as the pH number decreases. For example, water with a pH of 3.0 is more acidic than that with a pH of 6.0.
Read More: The Best pH Meters
Common Signs of Acidic Water
- The presence of blue/green stains in sinks, tubs, kitchen and bathroom fixtures
- Rust stains commonly occurring on iron pipes
- Reduce water pressure may indicate corroded and clogged pipes
- Presence of a metallic/sour taste in water may indicate corrosion
- Irregular functioning of appliances such as washing machines, heaters, and dishwashers may imply acidic water damage.
What Causes Acidic Water?
Natural causes top of the list. Rainwater can contain mild acidity due to the existence of acidic compounds in the atmosphere. Such water typically has elevated hydrogen ion (low pH) levels.
According to the EPA, acid rain and the resultant water can have a damaging effect on plant and aquatic life, and even infrastructure. This type of water is hard to avoid.
Another common cause of mild water acidity is organic compounds such as trees, roots, and soil microbes, which may decompose to produce carbon dioxide and acids that could interact with ground and surface water.
Finally, the occasional occurrence of chemical dumps, acidic mine spills, and drainage, can cause water acidity. Although uncommon, such events can raise water acidity significantly.
The Benefits of Acidic Water
Natural Astringent: Typically, mild water acidity of 5.5 and above, can be beneficial to your body. You can use it as “beauty” water.
It serves as a natural astringent when used for face washing, and will help with dry and itchy skin relief. This kind of water can help hasten the skin’s healing process.
Reliable Disinfecting Properties: The disinfecting capacity of acidic water makes it ideal for washing cutting boards, cleaning sinks and non-granite countertops, and cleaning utensils.
You can also use acid water to rinse sponges and dishcloths that are typically used on food-handling kitchenware and utensils. The acidity will inhibit bacteria growth and contain odors.
Another great use of acidic water in food preparation. Rinsing fresh vegetables and fruits, fish and meats can help prevent food contamination by e-coli and other bacteria types.
The Harmful Effects of Acidic Water
Exposure to Heavy Metals: Since acid has a corrosive effect on most metals, it can expose you to these elements and their damaging effects on the body.
Acidic water can trigger the release of iron, copper, lead, zinc, and manganese ions into drinking water, effectively elevating toxicity levels in the water you regularly consume.
To comprehend the potential health issues acidic water can cause, the same has been known to corrode piping fixtures, cause blue staining in copper pipes, and rust staining in iron pipes.
If it can cause such damage to physical installations, imagine the kind of harm it can cause in your body.
Copper, for instance, is a recommended dietary element, but when consumed in excess, probably from contaminated pipes, can cause liver and/or kidney damage.
Long-term Teeth Damage: Your mouth already contains many natural acids that help with food breakdown. Therefore, additional acidity exposure through teeth cleaning, for instance, can prove counterproductive in the long term.
Even though the effect is gradual and barely noticeable, acid water has the potential to corrode your teeth and weaken them, a process that can also make your mouth work extra hard.
It’s not just teeth corrosion that you need to worry about. Acid water can also damage soft gums and make them sensitive. Such kinds of issues can make your mouth very uncomfortable.
Creation of Cellular Stress: Acidic water has the potential to oxidize your body gradually, resulting in cellular stress. Young children are especially at risk of acid water contamination because of their rapid cell growth.
High cellular growth translates to elevated nutrient absorption by the body. If contaminants are absorbed equally fast, the damage they are likely to cause is also heightened.
If your daily diet contains too much acid, you’re at risk of a condition called acidosis, which is a proven precursor of many adult-onset health conditions such as kidney and liver disease.
Although acidic water has some proven benefits, it is, as revealed, unsafe for consumption. Therefore, avoid drinking it.
Ensure you’re constantly watching out for signs of hard water, especially having understood the main causes. Rusted pipes, stains on common house installations, and sour-tasting water are good indicators of acidic water.