The case for banning leaf blowers

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Recently, Wednesday Journal has published residents' letters urging the regulation or banning of gas-powered leaf blowers. I am adding my voice to theirs.

In a James Fallows article in The Atlantic, April 2019, "Get Off My Lawn: How a small group of activists (our correspondent among them) got leaf blowers banned in the nation's capital," he writes about the damaging noise and pollution levels caused by gas-powered leaf blowers. He cites a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the diminished hearing "largely caused by rising levels of ambient urban noise — sirens, traffic, construction, leaf blowers — which can lead to a range of disorders, from high blood pressure to depression to heart disease."

About pollution, Fallows says a gas leaf blower is powered by two-stroke engine which is dirty and "sloshes together a mixture of gasoline and oil … then spews out as much as one-third of that fuel as an unburned aerosol." The article goes on: "In 2017, the California Air Resources Board issued a warning [that] … by 2020, gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and similar equipment … could produce more ozone than all the millions of cars in California combined." Fallows suggests that battery-power can replace the gas-powered blowers.

From 2015 to 2018, Fallows worked with neighbors in Washington DC and, with growing support, their efforts were realized. On Jan. 1, 2022, gas-powered leaf blowers will be illegal in our nation's capital, as they are banned or restricted in "at least 100 U.S. cities."

We can do it, too.

Elaine D. Johnson

Oak Park  

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