The Leaf Blower Tornado
The June 28 Rye Record leaf blower law article makes two good points: gas-powered leaf blowers are loud, and they foul the air. But then the author argues that battery-powered leaf blowers are an easy fix.
I’m not so sure.
First there’s noise. Rye’s leaf blower law is a noise ordinance (133-3) and while some battery-powered blowers are about as loud as an air conditioner (50-75 dBA), others are literally deafening. According to Consumer Reports, battery-powered blowers like the Craftsman 98836 emit noise over 85 dBA — as loud as many gas-powered blowers and enough to warrant hearing protection. Add to that several battery-powered blowers blaring at the same time and you can already hear the disturbing result.
Next, there’s what the American Lung Association calls particle pollution. That’s pesticides, herbicides, fungi, molds, bacterial spores, insect parts, and animal fecal matter that goes airborne when blowers attack the ground with tornado force winds. That’s right, a fungi-mold-spore-fecal-nado: according to The National Weather Service, the 125-mph blast from a Greenworks 80v battery blower is classified as a strong tornado.
Then there’s enforcement. How would that work? Gas-powered Husqvarna or battery-powered Craftsman, who’s to say which is which, especially when the noise is coming from somewhere behind an arborvitae hedge?
Some things are more important than a “spotless lawn on Mother’s Day”. Rye’s unambiguous leaf blower ordinance is a tool for protecting quality of life and public health and safety. What still needs to be worked out is what to do about people who ignore the law.
- Tracy Stora