Gas Leaf Blowers Information
Gas Leaf Blowers Fact Sheet
For those who worked and learned from home in 2020, it may have been a rude awakening to discover how prevalent and loud gas leaf blowers are in our community. Gas leaf blowers are more than just a nuisance. More than 100 cities around the country have strong regulations in place to limit or ban gas leaf blowers for serious public health and environmental reasons.
Gas leaf blowers facts:
1. 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.
2. 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 Cranford, they rarely stop blowing. In addition, a two-stroke blower generates 23 times the carbon monoxide and nearly 300 times the non-methane hydrocarbons as the 6,200 pound Ford Raptor Truck. The hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900 mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor (source: Edmonds.com).2017 model tested leaf blowers produce 40x more particulate pollution than a busy intersection at rush hour(source: FairWarning.org)
3. 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.
4. 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 and other resourcees, read:
● -Dr. Hal Strelnic’s recent letter to Montclair Local, 2/6/2021:
https://www.montclairlocal.news/2021/02/06/im-glad-to-see-montclair-doing-something-about-le af-blowers-letter/?fbclid=IwAR1JiYtXGpRywDzhb1F8mw4sn_6-7veHqhy67pOe7BtjpctJKZ4Ykrq kMOg
● -California Air Resources Board:
● Edmunds Study:
● Ambient Noise is “The New Secondhand Smoke” by Daniel Fink, Acoustics Today, Fall 2019: https://acousticstoday.org/ambient-noise-is-the-new-secondhand-smoke-daniel-fink/ -www.QuietMontclair.org
● GLB characteristics result in uniquely high noise and air pollution compared to other engine-powered lawn equipment: https://www.totallandscapecare.com/business/article/15041330/are-leaf-blowers-the-noisiest-landscaping-tool)
● Health effects from loud noises: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3971384/