Monday, October 15, 2007


It's Saturday morning. You've had a long week at work and were out late Friday night. You're sleeping in....Suddenly, VROOM, some fool in your neighborhood has cranked up his turbo charged, jet engined, racing car styled grass blower in some satanic revenge against nature.

You'd like to shoot the fool, but you won't. You'll just lay there grumbling as the bloke goes about his business and feels he's quite the man with his giant phallic blower blowing.

Of course, these blowers don't only disturb your peace they disturb Mother Nature's, too.

And they contribute to illness.

They are just plain bad. One more technological wonder we could easily do without, but so many just have to have.

Some places are trying to do something about it.

They've got my support.

This isn't about taking away rights, its about upholding them. After all doesn't the Constitution guarantee all Americans the "pursuit of happiness."

What could make the average American more happy than the option to sleep in...just once in a while.

And doesn't that same Constitution guarantee all Americans the right to life. Can't breath, can't live. That's just the way it is.

Take the damn blowers away.

The following is from something called Poynter Online.

Monday Edition: The Trouble With Leaf Blowers
By Al Tompkins

It is that season when those of you who have falling leaves are breaking out the leaf blowers. City councils know that the season also brings complaints from residents who don't like all of the noise and pollution that blowers create.

Some cities, including Aspen, Colo., Vancouver, British Columbia, and Palo Alto, Calif., currently have full or partial bans on gas-powered leaf blowers, and scores of others are considering such moves. More than 20 cities throughout California have imposed some kind of ban.

The CBC said Toronto considered a ban but backed away.

The Boston Globe last week editorialized in favor of a seasonal ban on blowers because of the noise and pollution they cause.

In Orange County, Calif., a grand jury even took up the issue and said in its report :

"The widespread daily usage of two-cycle gasoline engine leaf blowers in the cities and unincorporated areas presents a health hazard to all citizens of Orange County. The hazards are four-fold:

Toxic exhaust fumes and emissions are created by gas-powered leaf blowers. Exhaust pollution per leaf blower per hour is the equivalent of the amount of smog from 17 cars driven one hour and is localized in the area of blower usage.

The high-velocity air jets used in blowing leaves whip up dust and pollutants. The particulate matter (PM) swept into the air by blowing leaves is composed of dust, fecal matter, pesticides, fungi, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, and street dirt which consists of lead and organic and elemental carbon. About five pounds of PM per leaf blower per hour are swept into the air and take hours to settle.

The quantity of pollution products that are injected into county air. The total amount of pollutants injected into the environment by blower usage in the county is significant. The ARB calculates that leaf blowers inject 2.11 tons of combustion pollutants per day into Orange County air. Leaf blowers in the County sweep twenty tons per day of small size particulate matter into the air.

Blower engines generate high noise levels. Gasoline-powered leaf blower noise is a danger to the health of the blower operator and an annoyance to the non-consenting citizens in the area of usage. In light of the evidence, the Grand Jury determined the health hazards citizens are exposed to by the use of leaf blowers outweigh the questionable economic benefit blowers may bring to the cities and the County. The Grand Jury recommends that the cities, school districts, community college districts, and the County cease using gas powered blowers in their maintenance and cleanup operations."

The grand jury also addressed the noise issue:

"The average blower generates noise that measures 65 to 75 dBA or more at 50 feet, and even louder at close range. Leaf blowers are often used fewer than 50 feet from non-consenting people. Neighboring homes may be occupied by home workers, retirees, day sleepers, children and the ill or disabled. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends general outdoor noise levels of 55 dBA or less, and 45 dBA or less for sleeping. Thus, a 65-decibel leaf blower would be 100 times too loud3 for healthful sleep. Blower noise can, and probably does, impair the user's hearing. A blower generates upward of 95 decibels of noise at the operator's ear (see Table 1 above). Office of Safety and Health Administration requires hearing protection for noise over 85 dBA. Hearing protectors as worn in the field provide only a fraction of the attenuation needed for hearing protection. There is an increased risk of hearing damage and deafness from repeated exposure to noise above 75 dBA. Deafness caused by noise is irreversible."

The Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph also editorialized in favor of restrictions on leaf blowers, saying:

"Falling leaves, once the inspiration of poets and songwriters, now mark the death of peace and quiet. As soon as they drop, homeowners and landscapers attack them maniacally with leaf blowers. The din from the screeching machines bores into the brain. The crisp fall air fills with exhaust fumes and dust.

More than 200 cities and towns have declared gas-powered leaf blowers a nuisance and public health hazard and banned them. Other communities have restricted the hours they may be used and banned blowing dust and litter onto the property of others or onto public property. Some have prohibited use of the machines where population density is high.

In the Live Free or Die state, a ban would bring wails of protest. And, if courtesy and common sense were common, a ban would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, at least in the most densely settled parts of Concord, it's worth considering. Enact one, and the growing number of people who work from home or work nights would be eternally grateful.

Noise isn't the only problem with leaf blowers, which tend to be run longer and more often than string trimmers, lawn mowers and other gas-powered tools. New Hampshire, on many days, has unhealthy air.

According to the Asthma Regional Council of New England, the Granite State has the highest rate of adult asthma in the nation. New Hampshire places third in childhood asthma rates behind Maine and Massachusetts.

Leaf blowers are a small part of the problem, but they contribute to it in dangerous ways. Like other two-cycle gasoline engines, they generate a remarkable amount of pollution for their size -- the equivalent in one hour of driving a car 100 miles, the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association says."

Is a leaf blower really faster than a broom or rake? One environmental group in California took the question to the field to find out.

Blower blowback went public more than 10 years ago when Peter Graves, Meredith Baxter and other stars pushed for blower prohibition. At the time, lawn maintenance workers even staged a hunger strike to protest the ban.

In Woodland, Calif., air quality folks are behind a "blower exchange," which would allow people to trade in older models for blowers that produce far less pollution. The new models are being sold for about half their retail price.

No comments: