Another “NO!” re leaf blowers in Alameda

I was glad to see Alameda Sun columnist Noelle Robbins had a piece this week on the negatives of leaf blowers. As I have said on the same topic, “It’s time for Alameda to explicitly ban the beasts. It’ll be better for our peaceful small town, better for our air and, not the least, better for the people who wield them, forced to endure the noise and breathe the particles all day long.” Robbins had these stats about much air pollution leaf blowers create:

According to the California EPA Air Quality Resources Board, each leaf-blower engine, although seemingly tiny, churns out the equivalent of the same smoggy pollution as 80 cars, each driven for 12,500 miles every year. In fact, all small-engine yard machines, including lawn mowers, weed trimmers and leaf-blowers, contribute five percent of all our air pollution annually. And with the lack of emission controls on these devices, that consists of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, all the components of global warming chemicals.

And this on the noise they create:

Leaf-blowers are also responsible for noise pollution, a type of infringement on our senses that can have serious negative health impacts. A normal decibel level, considered acceptable in residential areas, is about 60 decibels (60dB). Every increase in decibels means noise that is 10 times louder. Leaf-blowers usually generate about 70-75 dB. According to the U.S. EPA this level of noise actually degrades quality of life by interfering with communication and sleep, leads to reduced accuracy of work and increased levels of aggravation, which can linger hours after exposure.

Maybe now with Alameda’s Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda in business we can get these things banned in Alameda. Some times goals converge: you can do right by the long-term health of the planet and your own immediate comfort in one fell swoop.


  • Edmundo Delmundo

    Stop contracting gardners who use leaf blowers – simple solution.

    I think there are about 6 of them going on in my proximity right this minute!

  • http://www.noellerobbins.com Noelle Robbins

    Hi Eve,
    Thanks for the positive response. Got one not so nice, from a Mr. Will who represents the Echo Company which, you guessed it, manufactures leaf blowers. As best I can tell Mr. Will resides in Illinois. His letter will appear in the Sun this week. He says my facts are all outdated and not accurate. His company does make leaf blowers with lower decibel levels, apparently. But my question for him is how anyone could mandate that gardening services, so frequently used in my neighborhood, purchase newer models.

  • James eraghty

    Howdy to you all, i have invented the worlds first silent leaf blower and i had no idea.
    My town is ‘clevedon ‘ uk by the seaside, a fellow with a big gardens wife complained about the blasted noise the god dam leaf blower guys made , i clean all kinds of stuff with my silent ‘Air BROOMS’ AND I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT the noise of them stupid noisy things, my firm is as busy as you like now we got to clear the leaves in the fall and wow !!

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  • mike

    not trying to take anyones job away – heck pick up a broom and a rake. The fact is that the noise and air pollution caused by the leaf blowers is just too great. I would like to hear the birds and the wind just like when I was a kid – oh did I say wind – Nature’s own leaf blower. Fact is these “gardeners” are from “companies” outside the area hired by landlords for the cheapest possible cost simply to put make-up on their properties in order to charge the highest possible rent. Please this town doesn’t need make-up, we have soul- lets get back to basics -PLEASE