Vulnerable workers desperate for jobs who can’t speak English well and most probably have little education are exploited by landscaping companies. After a period of time in a job like this, is their health intact? What are we subjecting workers to in order to achieve the wasteful and often toxic “Perfect American Lawn”?
Workers would need the very best hearing protection to save their ears from the onslaught of 90+ decibels at very close range for hours on end, but often they wear none. The ear’s tiny hair-like cilia are damaged when subjected to noise over 85 dB and once damaged they never regenerate. “Being around too much loud noise – like using a leaf blower… can cause permanent hearing loss. … And just two hours of operating a leaf blower, which hits 90 decibels, can cause damage and hearing loss.” LINK: https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/03/21/leaf-blowers-threats-hearing-signal-springs-return-11034
As for the second-hand exhaust from leaf blowers, we recognize the tiny cigarette as a second-hand smoke danger, and yet we allow leaf blower mega-polluters on every campus across the country. Gas leaf blowers are 1,000Xs worse than the tiny cigarette yet it’s the cigarette we ban because we’ve all had plenty of education about the dangers of 2nd hand cigarette smoke for years. Harvard and Yale’s campuses have switched to electric landscaping equipment, so they’re living up to their reputation for being ahead of the curve. They’ve been conscientious enough to read the ample studies easily accessible online and made adjustments to keep their students safe. Leaf blower exhaust contains many of the same carcinogens as second-hand smoke. An EPA report about the carcinogens found in the exhaust from leaf blowers and other lawn equipment: “Adverse health effects from gas lawn and garden equipment emissions are well known. Benzene, 1,3 butadiene, and formaldehyde are listed among the top-ranking cancer-causing compounds. They cause lymphomas, leukemias, and other types of cancer.” (International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization)” SOURCE LINK: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/banks.pdf
Even the newest models of 4-stroke leaf blowers produce an amazing amount of particulate matter. These pollution particles are so tiny they enter the lungs and then move into the bloodstream and the brain. Studies link these particles to the onset of dementia. A recent study published in BMJ Open, found an association between the neurodegenerative condition and exposure to nitrogen dioxide and microscopic particles known as PM2.5. (Particulate Matter)