Top Ten Reasons Leaf Blowers Should be Banned

Leaf Blowers Are Hazardous to Your Health.Here’s 10 reasons why these ozone offenders should be banned.

1.Air Pollution. A gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour as an automobile does over 350 miles. The difference is that a car emits all that pollution over a big stretch of road, while a leaf blower deposits it all in one back or front yard.

2.Dangerous chemicals. Leaf blowers spread dust, dirt, animal droppings, herbicides and pesticides into your air, over your cars and into the windows of your home.

3.Noise. Blowers whine “like dental drills done beserk,” said the Detroit Free-Press. Added the Christian Science Monitor: “Blowers blare and screech, kick up dirt and dust and accomplish nothing.”

4.Ineffectiveness. Leaf blowers serve no other use than to move garbage onto neighbors’ property (where other gardeners often blow them back.) People should not have to wash their cars, their windows and sweep their walks repeatedly simply because using a leaf blower is more convenient to their neighbor's gardener.

5.Quality of life. Night workers who sleep during the day, retired persons, students who need quiet time to write or study, pregnant and new mothers and people who telecommute all need to minimize the loud noises which increasingly assail them during the daytime hours. The current Manhattan Beach ordinance—where blowers are allowed from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday—assumes that all of the above people don’t exist.

6.Health concerns. Cal OSHA allows only 20 minutes of aggregate daily exposure to a noise level over 100 decibels, while most gardeners run their blowers at 109, for most of the day. Clearly, most gardeners use leaf blowers far in excess of the level Cal OSHA recommends as safe to the operator.

7.Availability of alternate equipment. Gardeners could continue to use electric blowers if they do not wish to use rakes and brooms—which were sufficient prior to the invention of the leaf blower. Electric blowers weigh less, will cause less operator fatigue and do not pollute. The noise they produce is of a less offensive variety than gas blowers because it is steadier and does not rise and fall in pitch.

8.Track record of other cities. City managers and attorneys in Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Del Mar and Claremont all say that for the most part, gardeners have stopped using leaf blowers in their cities, rates have not gone up and that life has been much more peaceful—and healthier, for it.

9.Environmental damage. Gasoline leaf blowers—which have a muzzle velocity of 150 miles per hour or more—blow away topsoil and ground cover which, if left in place, would help soil to hold precious moisture and would minimize the number of times plants have to be watered. This is crucial, especially in drought years.

10. Absence of hard data about adverse impacts in other cities. The standard refrain from gardeners is that they would have to increase their rates if they couldn’t use their blowers. Yet there’s no evidence of that happening in L.A. or any other cities that have banned blowers. To those who say rates would go up without blowers, consider this: did these same gardeners lower their rates in the 1980s after they began using blowers?

{short description of image}
-click the leaf to go home-