As the leaves begin to fall, the racket of leaf blowers is about to crescendo in the next few months. Most people find this irritating and would not be surprised that hearing damage attends their use. But some prominent publications (The Atlantic, The New Yorker) have recently detailed health risks from “acoustical litter” that go beyond hearing loss. They include heart disease, high blood pressure, and low birth weight. The Atlantic terms the phenomenon the “second-hand smoke of this era.” Washington D.C. and many other communities (especially in California) have banned the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, effective 2022. Oak Park aspires to be ever greener, and noise control surely partakes of being green. Is it not time to proscribe these aural monstrosities?

James Whalen

Oak Park

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