by Joel Newton, Lorien Barlow, and Janine Reimann
As summer yields to fall, we cherish autumnal traditions: foliage gazing, the smell of fallen leaves, Halloween, and Thanksgiving gatherings. One thing many of us don’t relish is the sound and smell of another fall staple–leaf blowers.
Gas-powered leaf blowers, a topic of increasingly-heated debate, are with us year-round. Their noxious fumes hang stubbornly in the air and their piercing wails come at us (at-home workers, kids, retirees, and sidewalk strollers) from all angles. We silently resent our neighbors’ leaf blowers for waking us up, and we reconsider having cocktails with our friends on the patio.
The negative health impacts of gas blowers are well-documented, particularly for children and seniors, and for the workers who have little choice but to strap on these machines, withstand their (literally) deafening noise and inhale their fumes (1 hour of leaf blower exhaust pollutes as much as a 1,100 mile car trip).