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Leaf Blowers - But at What Price?

The nuisance of noise pollution aside, concern is being voiced by the
American Lung Association about the health implications created by the
sizable number of leaf blowers emitting carbon dioxide and stirring
up mold and spores.

Photo: Courtesy of ECHO

The hum of leaf blowers is a familiar sound during the fall with many people cleaning up the last batch of leaves on their property. But the noise isn't what's concerning some people, it's a potential health hazard.

Leaf blowers clear dust, debris, leaves, and even snow quickly and efficiently. But at what price? Some health experts are sounding the alarm. "We're concerned about the health implications," said Dr. Adrienne Weiss-Harrison, with the American Lung Association. "Although they're small devices, there are so many operating that they have a large impact." She pointed to studies showing that gas powered leaf blowers spread dangerous pollutants including carbon monoxide as well as stir up irritating allergens like mold and spores.

Car experts at found that gas-powered consumer-grade leaf blowers emit more pollutants than a 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor, click here to read the article on Many gas-powered leaf blowers are made with what's called a two stroke engine. But many gas powered chain saws, lawnmowers and snow blowers have them too and there's no movement to ban all of these machines.

Jody Shilan is the executive director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. While he recognizes the concerns, he believes leaf blowers provide a big benefit. "It's so much more efficient than using a rake," said Shilan. "It's going to raise the cost significantly for homeowners that do have landscape contractors to take care of their property." He's concerned that banning gas-powered leaf blowers could end up hitting homeowners in the wallet.

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June 27, 2019, 2:05 am PDT

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