Oftentimes when people hear that something has a low or high pH, they worry that it is dangerous. But this is not the case, pH alone cannot tell you if a substance is dangerous or not. Anyway, bases are typically considered more dangerous than acids! But what is pH? A substances pH is simply the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) of the material when in solution (usually water). It is a numeric (logarithmic) scale used to specify how acidic or basic an aqueous solution is and an aqueous solution is just a solution where water is the solvent.
Now you might be wondering, what makes an aqueous (aq.) solution acidic or basic? Essentially, acids have more hydrogen ions (H+) than pure water and bases have less hydrogen ions than pure water. This is because an acid will release a hydrogen ion into an aq. solution, while a base will release a hydroxide ion (OH-) – by accepting the hydrogen ion. Did you know that this also makes them taste different? Not that you should try it, but if you taste an acid it will taste sour (like lemon juice) and a base will taste bitter (like milk of magnesia).