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Professional Landscapers and Gardeners Help Clear the Air

South Coast Air Quality Management District scrapped 1,500 old backpack blowers in exchange for discounted, new Stihl BR 500 4-MIX(R) blowers as part of an exchange program.

California has long been on the leading edge of emission and sound regulation reform. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in California has just completed the state's first blower incentive program, meeting their goal of exchanging 1,500 high-emission, backpack leaf blowers used by professional gardeners and landscapers with the new low-emission, low-noise Stihl 4-MIX(R) BR 500 model. Seven exchange events were held in February and March, in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The AQMD estimates that by scrapping 1,500 old blowers and replacing them with low-emission blowers, the program will reduce at least 14 tons per year of smog-forming emissions. In addition, leaf blowers have been a frequent source of controversy due to their sound and tendency to create suspension of dust in the air.

"I worked for three years on legislation in California to help prevent the ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers. I am thrilled that the AQMD initiated this program that benefits our communities and the lawn care companies who care for them," said Barbara Alvarez of Golden State Landscaping, Inc. and the California Landscape Contractors Association board of directors. "It's great to have the AQMD, Stihl, and the end user all on the same page."

The blowers in the exchange program are nearly four times cleaner than the California Air Resources Board's most stringent standard for new blowers. Its BR 500 gasoline-powered blowers are among the quietest available, rated at 65 dB(A), measured per ANSI B 175.2 standards. Based on information from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, the sound level of a leaf blower (as the human ear would hear it) decreases by 50 percent for each 6 dB(A) reduction; therefore, the BR 500 is 50 percent quieter than a more common 71 dB(A) leaf blower.

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June 18, 2019, 6:35 pm PDT

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