Why Is pH Measurement Necessary?
Almost all processes containing water have a need for pH measurement. Most living things depend on a proper pH
level to sustain life. All human beings and animals rely on internal mechanisms to maintain the pH level of their
blood. The blood flowing through our veins must have a pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Exceeding this range by as little
as one‐tenth of a pH unit could prove fatal.
Commodities such as wheat and corn, along with other plants and food products, will grow best if the soil they are
planted in is maintained at an optimal pH. To attain high crop yields, farmers must condition their fields to the
correct pH value. Different crops need different pH levels. In this case, one size does not fit all.
Acid rain can be very detrimental to crop yields. Rainwater is naturally acidic (below 7.0 pH). Rain is typically
around 5.6 pH but, in some areas, it increases to harmful levels between 4.0 and 5.0 pH due to atmospheric
pollutants. Heavily industrialized areas of the US, such as the Midwest, have been targeted by various
environmental agencies to minimize the pollutants that cause acid rain. The burning of fossil fuels like coal,
releases gases into the upper atmosphere that, when combined with rain water, change composition and cause
the rain water to become more acidic.
Proper pH control keeps milk from turning sour, makes strawberry jelly gel, and prevents shampoo from stinging
your eyes. In plating plants, pH control is used to ensure the luster of chrome on various products from nuts and
bolts to toasters and automobile bumpers. The pH of wastewater leaving manufacturing plants and wastewater
purification plants, as well as potable water from municipal drinking water plants, must be within a specific pH
“window” as set forth by local, state or federal regulatory agencies. This value is typically between 5 and 9 pH, but
can vary from area to area.