Gardening on the Planet

Finally, they’re coming for the leaf blowers


At least in California. According to an NPR report I heard yesterday (2/28), these will be the biggest ozone polluters in that state—pulling ahead of cars—within three years. Most Rant readers know how much we (at least Susan and I and probably our partners as well) hate these evil machines, but I never thought anybody would do anything punitive about them.

You probably know the reason they’ll get worse than cars: inadequate emission standards, while cars adhere to fairly strict regulations. Of course, these standards are controlled by the EPA, so it looks like we’ll have to depend on states for this kind of air quality oversight, given the current federal situation. I don’t use the term “evil” lightly. The fumes and particulates from these are deadly for the landscape crews that regularly use them. They damage eyes, ears, and lungs, aggravating any respiratory problems, contributing to cardiac problems, and causing hearing loss. So it’s more than just the human health problems that eventually result from large-scale environmental damage.

There is no drastic action planned in CA yet, just stricter emission standards and incentive programs for alternatives. But, given the ubiquity of these machines, it’s heartening. Makes sense that it’s happening there, too, given their long growing season. I hope it will inspire New York, as we tend to be friendly to environmental regulation here, a fact I become more grateful for (among others) every time I read the paper.

Posted by on March 1, 2017 at 8:00 am, in the category Gardening on the Planet.

7 responses to “Finally, they’re coming for the leaf blowers”

  1. Laura B says:

    It usually is the upscale towns, isn’t it? The bluer the average collar in a given town, the more likely you are to find leaf blowers in use.

  2. Laura B says:

    Most of the hellstrip around Capitol Park in Sacramento is decomposed granite. It does my heart good to walk around the park and see lovely zen-garden-ish rake marks in that DG. It is even better knowing that they bypassed the “easier” leaf blowers to use manual tools to keep this area neat.

  3. Scott says:

    This is great news! I hope it begins to expand to my states also.

  4. bonnie groves says:

    There are towns i California which have banned these for many years, in particular the leaf blowers. Very upscale towns I might add.

  5. Marilyn Griffiths says:

    Florida is sorely in need of regulations on these horrible machines. Blowing dust into the air and chasing one leaf off of a lawn are common sights all year round.

  6. This is excellent news! I hope it begins to expand to other states also.

  7. Donna Dixson says:

    O thought they created a licensing process for operating leaf blowers in CA. I know the tool itself is quite a bit more expensive to purchase due to the
    CA regulations on emmisions and sound./decibals levels.

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