Is Lime Harmful to Humans? Safety Precautions

Author/Reviewed By: Josh Miller, Sales Manager: Baker Lime & North America Minerals
Published: 4/15/2020 

Lime is a common yard fertilizer component due to its pH-balancing abilities and its cost-effectiveness. Although many homeowners know that a lime fertilizer treatment will help their grass grow faster and greener, some hesitate to use it out of concern about its effects on their family’s health. Fortunately, it is possible to use lime safely. The primary determinant in its potential to become a human health risk breaks down into one general factor — whether the lime is caustic (fast-acting but harmful) or non-caustic (safe but slightly less effective).

If you’re considering a lime fertilizer for your yard care routine, it’s crucial to pick a type of lime yard treatment that’s safe for adults, kids and pets alike. In addition to selecting the right lime-based fertilizer for your lawn needs, you also need to follow specific guidelines when handling any kind of lime.

Keep reading to learn the basics of garden lime safety and how you can grow your lawn without exposing your family to hazardous chemicals.

Is Garden Lime Harmful to Humans?

Is lime or limestone powder toxic?The answer to this question is — sometimes. Lime is a calcium and magnesium compound that fertilizer manufacturers add to their mixes to aid in lawn pH balance, which helps lawns grow faster. However, there are two general categories of garden lime that differ substantially in their safety factors. These two categories are non-caustic and caustic lime, and both are commonly used in landscaping.

Caustic lime, also known as “burned lime,” undergoes roasting to remove carbon dioxide. This process gives caustic lime the ability to chemically corrode or “burn,” which makes this form of lime dangerous to the touch. Caustic lime includes quicklime and hydrated lime — products that should be avoided in home gardening and lawn care projects. Since this limestone is dangerous failure to handle caustic lime properly can result in chemical burns to humans, animals and even the grass itself.

Non-caustic lime is much safer to use. Ground from regular limestone, non-caustic lime contains mostly calcium carbonate. The most common varieties of non-caustic lime include calcitic limestone and dolomitic lime, and each type is safe to use in your garden. While these non-caustic lime varieties are safe, you still need to exercise certain precautions when using them in your yard.

Safety Precautions When Using Lime

When applying non-caustic lime fertilizer to your lawn, keep the following safety measures in mind to ensure that you and your family stay safe:

  • Always wear gloves, glasses and a mask when handling any type of lime.
  • Keep children and pets away from the lime application area at all times.
  • Wait until the lime application has absorbed before letting anyone onto the grass.
  • Water in your lime with at least 1/4 inches of water after the lime application and wait until it absorbs before walking on your lawn.

Contact Baker Lime for Safe Lime Yard Treatments

Upgrade your lawn this spring with professional lawn care products from Baker Lime. We offer a wide selection of safe, economical lawn fertilizers, feeds, agricultural supplies and much more! Find a distributor near you and contact our friendly team today for more information on our products.