In chemistry, pH is a value that indicates how acidic or not a water-based solution is. Often, such as with swimming pools, it’s desirable to maintain pH in a certain range. A technique used to achieve this balance is called pH buffering, and with that in mind, let’s take a look at five reasons why pH buffering is important in the scenarios in which the method is commonly used.
1. Internal Health
The term pH stands for potential of hydrogen, and the presence or lack of hydrogen ions in the body has a considerable effect on health. The human body has its own buffering mechanism in order to keep balance within a very small range. However, you can make that task more difficult with a diet that has high acidity or basicity. Improper balance can lead to a wide range of health problems, including poor digestion, reduced bone density, increased insulin levels, extra fat storage, electrolyte imbalances and organ stress.
2. External Health and Comfort
A primary reason why pH buffering is so important in swimming pools, hot tubs and so forth is because of our eyes and skin. The main concern here is acidity. If the water is too acidic than it will cause a burning sensation in the eyes and even the skin. If the acidity is severe enough or the particular person sensitive enough, it can lead to prolonged redness, hives, rashes, itchiness, dry skin and other skin problems.
3. Plant Growth
Soil pH is similar in concept to the pH defined above, but it’s the measure of hydronium ions instead. Buffering in soil is important in order to keep pH at an ideal range. Most plants require a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If the pH is too high or low or changes drastically in a short period, plants will die. Additionally, some plants, including those we eat, thrive when the acid or alkaline content is high, and farmers can achieve better growth and yields by maintaining the soil at a precise optimal pH.
A buffering solution is also important in scenarios where corrosion is possible. Pool water buffering is important not only because of human health but in order to maximize the lifespan of the swimming pool itself. High acidity will break down liners, including in-ground plaster surfaces, and high alkalinity can aid in calcium buildup, which can also cause damage.
5. Environmental Protection
Buffering also plays a crucial role in environmental protection. The technique is particularly important regarding drinking water. Buffering is a critical component of water treatment in developed nations, and in developing countries, a buffering solution is offering a key step in ensuring that people have regular access to clean drinking water.