How Safe Are Commercial Fertilizers?

A few responses to my comments about fertilizer purity motivate me to write one more article.  Jay from California gave it as his experience that government is rarely able to do things accurately and well, and that we will do well not to take at face value what they say.  My dialog with him is as follows, and hopefully will benefit all of us to the point that we don’t need to beat the subject to death on this forum.
 
(Jim) “Whenever accountability is removed, or even reduced, accuracy, quality, etc. suffer.  I too am skeptical about “the government” ‘s ability to do things properly and well.  And I share your feelings about the need to grow our own food (to protect against “something” being in food grown by strangers, as well as to avoid being totally dependent on the complex interdependent system in which we live, that could be interrupted at any time by events beyond our control).
 
I do believe however, that private fertilizer manufacturers, who answer to the people who buy their products, are doing a pretty good job of providing materials that are as represented.  And we’ve seen the results in people’s lives and health in 30 countries around the world for the past 40 years, in the positive difference growing with balanced mineral nutrients have always made.  So we feel we must take a reasoned stand in support of their (commercial fertilizer’s) use.”
 

(Jay)  “Agreed!!! Accountability is SO key!

I have a friend who works at one of the LARGE fertilizer companies here in California, and it is quite impressive what he tells me about their quality control, even if they are so large that chemicals are measured with a skip loader.

Another firend in the fireworks manufacturing business tells me that he is able to get sufficeintly pure chemicals from a farm supply firm that he doesn’t need to get every thing from the specialized chemical firms. Believe me, if there were even minute amounts of chemical contamination in the nitrates or perchlorates, the colors he makes would show it!!!”
 
We have experienced far fewer problems from using commercial fertilizers than from using compost or manure.  We can be confident there are no pests, weed seeds, or diseases in fertilizers, whereas very often compost and manure contain some or all of them.  Ferthermore, using fertilizers, we are able to give our plants exactly what they need by way of nutrition.  With manure or compost you never know which minerals or how much you are getting.