, Gloucester, MA

August 27, 2013

Letter: Time to regulate noisy leaf blowers

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Leaf blowers, particularly those powered by two-stroke gasoline engines, are obnoxious and polluting.

They stir up a filthy stew of pollutants that stay suspended in the air for hours, and they emit unburned petroleum fumes. Most are astonishingly loud, far louder than other lawn equipment, and they make an especially irritating whiny noise.

Whatever the benefits, they pale in comparison to the costs — costs which are borne by neighbors and passersby rather than the property owner or landscaper.

The blowers are destroying what remains of peace and quiet in neighborhoods everywhere. And noise is only part of the problem. Leaf blowers are commonly used to blow debris from private yards into the street, creating great clouds of particulates and pollutants that remain suspended in the air for hours.

Even Echo, a leaf blower manufacturer, instructs that leaf blowers should not be used to blow dry, dusty material, such as garden topsoil, gravel, and construction debris. It advises that machines should never be used at full throttle in residential areas, and that two blowers should not be used simultaneously.

Sensible regulation, including at a minimum a seasonal ban, limitations on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, and a ban on the use of leaf blowers on city streets and sidewalks and within a certain distance of neighboring residences, should be enacted without further delay.