Health Hazards of Leaf Blowers

Health Hazards of Leaf Blowers

The rather innocuous looking leaf blowers that many Americans use to save time on yard and garden maintenance elicit surprisingly strong responses from their opponents. Termed “dust blowers” by some adversaries, these machines are now restricted in many communities. Local regulations across the country limit leaf blowers’ use to certain times of the day or year, prohibit gasoline-powered versions but allow electric ones, and even completely ban their use altogether.

The most obvious hazard presented by leaf blowers is noise pollution, which can interfere with communication, sleep, and work. The average leaf blower measures between 70 to 75 decibels at 50 feet. That’s 20 decibels more than the acceptable ambient noise levels recommended by the World Health Organization and is clearly damaging to the operator’s hearing. Leaf blowers are also routinely used less than 50 feet from unconsenting pedestrians and neighboring homes. Leaf blower noise is especially irritating because of its particular pitch, the changing amplitude, and the lack of control by the hearer. The high frequency of exposure also adds to the nuisance value. In an effort to combat this issue, just up north in Decatur, the sound level is limited to 60 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. in residential areas and public spaces.

Even more concerning is that the two-stroke gasoline engines that power the blowers are a source of air pollution. The exhaust gas emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulates. According to the Lung Association, one leaf blower causes as much smog as 17 cars. Furthermore, the blowers stir up dust clouds (at hyper-speeds of over 240 mph depending on the model) that contain potentially harmful substances such as mold, pesticides, and animal fecal matter that may cause irritation, allergies, and disease.

If you are concerned about the impact leaf blowers have on your community, speak to your neighbors and local government about restrictions or an outright ban. If you think you have a legal issue such as an injury to your health or a zoning violation, call the Mann Law Firm at 855-878-0276 or fill out this form today to schedule your free initial consultation. Within two business days of receiving your information, we will contact you to set up a consultation where we will discuss how we can help you.