Leaf Blowers Should Be Banned

We just learned from the City Attorney’s Office, that the Palo Alto City Council, with the strong support of the police chief, is very likely on June 13, to overturn the ban on leaf blowers that was passed five years ago. Please don’t let that happen.

1.  Air Pollution: Leaf blowers are hazardous to your health. A gasoline powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour, as an automobile does over 350 miles. But, while the car emits its pollution over a long stretch of road, the leaf blower deposits it all in your front yard.


2.  Dangerous Chemicals: Leaf blowers spread dust, dirt, animal droppings (yuck), and pesticides into your air, over your cars, and into the windows of your home.


3.  Noise: The noise from leaf blowers is an intrusion and violation of the peace and quiet we try to create for ourselves in our homes. We frequently experience 70 db leaf blower noise inside our home – equal to the sound of somebody else’s vacuum cleaner in your living room.


4.  Ineffectiveness: Leaf blowers serve no other purpose than to move garbage onto neighbors’ property (where other gardeners blow it back.) People should not have to wash their cars, their windows, and sweep their walks repeatedly, simply because their neighbor’s gardener finds it more convenient to use a leaf blower.


5.  Availability of Alternative Equipment: Gardeners could continue to use electric blowers if they do not wish to use rakes and brooms – which were quite sufficient before the invention of leaf blowers.  Electric blowers make much less noise and air pollution; and they are less fatiguing to the operators. There is No evidence that rates have gone up in cities, such as Los Angeles, Berkeley and Los Altos, which have banned gas powered leaf blowers.  Eventually leaf  blowers will be banned as a health hazard, like cigarettes. Palo Alto should be a leader for good health – not the last California city  to catch on!

We believe that the gardeners' desire to get their job done as quickly as possible does not give them the right to generate noise and environmental pollution in our neighborhood. They say “blowers are necessary to do twenty yards a day.” That would be 100 yards a week; or, at present rates, $15,000 per month, while many gardeners don’t use blowers at all..

  Please email, write or call your city council members and attend the City Council meeting on June 13, 2005 at 7:00 PM.                        contact  Patty:  pk@targ.com