the problem with
Gas Leaf Blowers
We thought leaf blowers were just a noisy nuisance . . . then we learned of the alarming hazards. Shifting to battery-powered leaf blowers means less pollution, less noise, and less risk for workers and residents. More than 100 cities around the country have strong regulations in place to limit or ban gas leaf blowers.
They are extremely loud
Typical commercial gas-powered models generate sound that can reach up to 110 decibels at the point of origin, which can cause permanent hearing loss. Unlike most lawn and garden equipment, the sound that gas leaf blowers create is especially powerful in low-frequency elements; this allows the sound to carry for long distances and through building walls.
They emit toxic exhaust
Most gas leaf blowers run on cheap, highly inefficient two-stroke engines, which are being phased out in countries all over the world because of how dirty they are. They use a combination of gasoline and oil, which produces high levels of ozone-forming, asthma-inducing, and cancer-causing emissions, including fine particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide. These pollutants linger in the air close to the ground for up to a week after the leaf blowers stop blowing---and in Glen Ridge, they rarely stop blowing.
They cause serious health risks to landscape workers
The California Air Resources Board concluded that operating the best-selling commercial leaf blower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving 1,100 miles in a 2017 Toyota Camry. The workers who operate these machines for hours each day face the greatest short- and long-term health risks from the clouds of pollutants and fine particulates, the spray of unburned gasoline and oil, and the ear-splitting noise. Landscapers deserve healthier work conditions.
There are safer, viable alternatives to gas leaf blowers
Gas leaf blowers are not the only option---there are other, safer alternatives. Consumer Reports gives high ratings to several battery-electric models. While transitioning to battery-electric tools requires some upfront investment, these machines quickly pay for themselves by virtually eliminating operating costs for gasoline, oil, and filters, and they are far quieter and less polluting than the two-stroke engines. Beyond that, your lawn will be happier if you don’t use them at all. Removing grass clippings and stray leaves is actually detrimental to lawns and gardens and the ecosystem they support. Mowing the leaves in the fall returns beneficial nutrients to the soil as mulch, which in turn leads to a healthier lawn, reduced need for pesticides, and a much quieter neighborhood.
To learn more about gas leaf blowers, read: