Lawn chemicals have come under tremendous scrutiny in recent years and have been blamed for everything from poisoned wells to sickness in children and even death. Many municipalities have banned pesticides and certain fertilizers in an effort to halt the dangers associated with their use and mis-use.
Chemical companies are required by law to list only their active ingredients and not inert ingredients. Some believe that these inert ingredients are just as harmful as the active ingredient and should be listed on the label.
If you feel reluctant or fearful of using lawn chemicals I suggest using organic products. It's better to remove all doubt, than to forever question whether a lawn chemical may have been responsible for the sickness or death of a loved one.
In my opinion, safely using the product is the key. It is important to practice integrated pest management to detect pests early and avoid chemical reliance. Utilizing a licensed pesticide applicator when using pesticides is the best way to ensure they are applied properly.
If you are applying lawn chemicals READ THE LABEL. Follow the directions, be aware of the effects of exposure and do not over apply. More is not better. Lawn chemicals can begin to get dangerous with repeated exposure and improper handling so wear the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). The label will also indicate when it is safe to re-enter an area after the product has been applied.
When it comes to relative safety, fertilizers are fairly safe, herbicides can be dangerous, and insecticides are the most dangerous because they usually affect the central nervous system.
My own philosophy is to use chemicals as little as possible. When they are used, do it safely or hire a licensed pesticide applicator. Do not let children or pets on the lawn until the product has been watered in, preferably with a minimum of 1/4 inch of rain.