Leaf Blower Noise Is Lowering Your Property Value?

We need to get this concept across. NO ONE WANTS THESE godforsaken machines!

A friend recently told me that she didn’t go through with the purchase of a home because every time she visited the property there were leaf blowers blasting away in the neighborhood. The noise and pollution is lowering our property values.

Home buyers will pay a premium to live in areas where these crews are not allowed and where individual use of leaf blowers is not allowed. Those will be the MOST DESIRABLE neighborhoods to invest in.

LINK TO D.C. WEBSITE: http://www.quietcleandc.com/qcdc-in-the-news/?offset=1519525314677

The researchers concluded that as many as 14 percent of cases of hypertension and 9 percent of cases of high cholesterol were potentially a result of noise exposure — possibly because of the stress of a loud working environment. SOURCE: American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2018

And:

A 2018 World Health Organization analysis of 34 studies linked noise exposure to poorer reading comprehension, standardized test scores and long-term memory. (SOURCE: 2018 World Health Organization analysis of 34 studies)

Ban 2 Stroke Leaf Blowers. They are blasting cancer causing chems and filth into your childrens lungs. Others have bans. #FACT
In the past, neighborhoods were quiet because the tools we had were manual and quiet. Things are different now. Now we live in…
THE AGE OF THE PERSONAL POWER TOOL
where everyone has a power tool in their hand: power washer, power mower, power edger and then the peace-shattering, overly-powerful leaf blower. We need some strong laws to stop the madness. 
Yesterday I finally got myself together to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. I’ve been sick for a few days. The moment I approached the door to step out, the blowers started. This is the landscaper that services 2 adjacent properties, so that’s at least 2 hours of noise and fumes. And then the sun would start to go down. I wouldn’t be deterred. I put on my old Walkman and over the regular headphones, I put noise cancelling headphones. But even with all that, the noise was deafening. And the fumes and dust was starting to get to me too. I finally gave up and went back indoors. It’s very depressing..
Mimi Regelson I have to confess that while I know that electric leaf blowers are cleaner and quieter I don’t like them either. The sound isn’t as bad but still annoying since I work from home and, just in general, prefer to live in a quieter neighborhood without a lot of mechanical sound. Also I have asthma and take care of my elderly mom who also has breathing issues and even these leaf blowers tend to distribute more allergens into the air than a broom or rake. Of course if forced at gunpoint to choose, I WILL choose an electric one over a gas blower immediately.

I am 73 years old, retired, healthy, and spend most of my day outside working, walking, reading, and enjoying nature.  After receiving the advanced technology of a cochlear implant 8 years ago my profound deafness has been replaced with clear conversations, children’s voices, bird’s chirping, and the sound of passing vehicles.  But, the noise of the old technology two-cycle gas leaf blower forces me to turn off my cochlear device. I become disabled with unnecessary deafness, only hearing the annoying sounds of tinnitus. I am denied the ability to easily communicate and feel vulnerable.   Sadly, the vast majority of landscapers, carrying the gas leaf blowers on their back, ignore the use of noise canceling ear protection. I know by using these roaring gas leaf blowers for hours each day it will result in their own future hearing loss. We are all losers in the gas leaf blower battle with the environment and our health.Leonard Urban

No one who works at home, parents at home, is retired at home or sick at home should be forced to endure this ever present nightmare of overtly loud and shrill gas leaf blowers piercing our calm.  As tax-paying home owners, we have the right to peaceful enjoyment of our property and our homes. But our rights abruptly disappear mid-March to mid-December in favor of landscapers whose rights trump ours.  And I am reminded that my beagle, Cookie, passed away as a direct result of the gasoline fumes that filled my den after a 45 minute winter clean-up on my neighbor’s property in November 2012. The conditions that allowed a beloved pet to seizure for the first time, from gasoline fumes, remain in place today.

Abigail Bayliss O’Dowd I live across the road from a primary school and EVERY DAY at 6:30 am this dude leaf blows the entire place omg so annoying

http://www.saudicaves.com/mx/leafblo/index.html

important article

  • Gary Louis Dearman Rakes are great, but wouldn’t they be better if they wasted gas, made a deafening noise, weighed 25 pounds, and cost a couple hundred dollars each?
  • Theresa Krest Bathen Leslie Nelson Inman Thank you! Last spring he blew out his garage and the cloud didn’t dissipate for about four or five houses down the road where kids were out playing basketball and in their yards. It was full of the salt from his cars over the winter – you could literally taste it in the air. I am sure it left a lovely coating on everyone’s car as well
    • EB Lubman OMG, I hate those things!! I used to live in a “rich” neighborhood (middle class people who lived beyond their means) and they used to hire landscapers to blow their yards. I couldn’t walk on my own block half the time. One time my neighbors blew all their dirt into my yard, into my baby’s stroller that I left outside because I couldn’t bring it in right away!
      Now I live in a neighborhood where people live within their means and are more low-income, so they don’t do this crap. Most of the people who have any form of yard plant food instead of pointless, manicured grass and flowers that they have to change up every season. But once when I was going to a meeting in my child’s school, I had to walk through a rich neighborhood, where there was a leaf blower running on every other block. I was so disgusted, and so appreciative of my new location
      There is a natural cemetery in UK that, some years ago, changed from power mowers to people with scythes for maintenance. They immediately noticed the return of all kinds of wildlife.
      Karen Wilkerson Hate leaf blowers. Perfect way to ruin a beautiful afternoon, especially when everybody is out doing it. My neighbor blows off her driveway every day. She worships her driveway and hates trees and birds! Now thinking maybe she is doing it on purpose.

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Leaf Blower Warfare All Year Long

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I just opened my back door to let my dog out on a beautiful, crisp autumn morning and what do I hear? Birds chirping? My fountain gently gurgling?  No. I hear the menacing roar of backpack leaf blowers destroying the potential beauty of a fall morning.  In a more rational world, I could stand outside sip my cup of coffee, soak up a little vitamin D, watch my dog sniff around and listen to the birds.  These are reasonable expectations that most people have when they buy a house with a yard. These are simple everyday pleasures that research tells us are vital to our health. Encounters with a peaceful natural setting bring down your blood pressure and your cortisol level.  A brief communing with nature before heading off to the roadways and highways to work would be beneficial to anyone’s health. This is what our tiny intown yards were meant to be, a respite from the noise and chaos of the city, but now our yards are the cause of the noise and chaos in the city.  It’s a leaf blower warzone.  Our neighborhoods have become uninhabitable for humans and birds alike.

The good news is gas leaf blowers have been banned or restricted in more than 170 municipalities in 31 states across the U.S. and the landscaping industry has adjusted with more environmentally friendly practices using brooms, rakes and electric blowers.  Where these bans are in place, landscaping companies are still in business and prices haven’t gone up.

 

 

If Leaf Blowers Are Destroying Your Quality of Life, Please Write a Letter And Get This Issue On Lawmakers’ Radar

It makes a difference when lawmakers hear from you. Whenever a new leaf blower ban is put in place, the mayor or city council person interviewed says emails flooded their offices with leaf blower complaints and that’s why changes, bans, and restrictions were made.  Your email matters.

 Along with that, we need to educate journalists and lawmakers about the extreme downside of gas leaf blowers. Many people who would be our allies in working against leaf blowers are unaware of how polluting and damaging they are to the environment.  Share your personal story of dealing with the noise and toxic exhaust from leaf blowers and then add few facts. You’re done!  Now send that one letter to every lawmaker and journalist you can find an email address for.  If you don’t, then my email is the only one they’ll receive. If they receive 100+ emails about this issue, then it becomes something they’ll pay attention to.  Here’s my letter:

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Dear Senator Lewis;

Please take a moment to read about a significant neighborhood problem affecting many of us on a daily basis: The Ever-Present Leaf Blower Landscaping Crew.

Here’s their outrageous business model: Show up regularly where people live and work with the loudest and dirtiest engines imaginable. Then pollute like mad in order to “clean up”. Many cities have recognized the huge drawbacks to gas leaf blowers and that’s why they’ve been banned or restricted in more than 170 municipalities in 31 states across the U.S. and the landscaping industry has adjusted with more environmentally friendly practices using brooms, rakes and electric blowers.  Where these bans are in place, landscaping companies are still in business and prices haven’t gone up.

Conventional landscaping practices are toxic to our health and the environment.   Noisy, polluting leaf blowers crews are destroying the quality of life in our neighborhoods.  When I arrive home from work to their revving and blaring, I wonder what happened to my peaceful neighborhood.   By demanding an unreasonable, overly-manicured, golf-course-style landscape the peace of our neighborhood is destroyed and that lowers value of our homes.  The #1 thing most homebuyers look for is a quiet neighborhood and yet our neighborhoods are becoming the center of constant noise and chaos. After 45 mins of a wall of roaring sound coming from one crew, then the next one shows up.  This is hardly sustainable.  

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When homeowners expect these ultra-manicured landscapes, that necessitates a constant leaf blower battle in the neighborhood.  Landscapers claim their equipment is faster but doesn’t explain why they blast away hours on end.  Meanwhile, the rest of us can’t work from home, we can’t open windows, we can’t relax in our garden, we can’t use our screened-in porch, and we can’t enjoy a healthy walk.  You would think law-abiding, tax-paying citizens would have the right to peace on their own property.  Leaf blowers are a public nuisance that substantially interfere with the enjoyment and use of one’s own private property.  

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Leaf blower crews now operate year-round blowing dust on the hottest summer Code Red days and ruining the most beautiful autumn days.  They show up while the homeowner who hired them is at work. Those of us who work from home are left to endure it.  The landscaping company wants to keep a year-round contract even though there is very little to do most months of the year. They seem to want their crews to look busy by making a ton of noise to prove they showed up.  Meanwhile, they’re spewing dangerous pollutants into our air for no reason!  There are no leaves to blow for 9 months of the year, but they blast away at 185 mph whipping up hazardous particles and contaminants at ground speeds greater than a Category 5 hurricane.  (The Husqvarna company claims its Leaf Blower model 580BTS pumps out an airspeed of 206.2 MPH) Epidemiological studies have long recognized stirring up tiny dust particles causes damage to respiratory systems. What’s in this dust and particulate matter? A myriad of unpleasant things such as animal droppings, spores, fungi, pollen, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, brake-lining dust, tire-residue, and heavy metals. 

We’ve banned tiny cigarettes in parks and other outdoor areas because we know how toxic second-hand smoke is, but leaf blower ‘second-hand smoke’ is a thousand times worse and I see them blowing away on every green space in town.  Gas leaf blower exhaust contains many of the same carcinogens found in second-hand cigarette smoke such as Benzene, 1-3 Butadiene, Toluene, and Formaldehyde and these pollutants are discharged into our neighborhood yards and parks in concentrated form.   These are known carcinogens recognized by the World Health Organization.

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The rest of us pay too high a price for someone’s else’s perceived “convenience” and the desire for overly-manicured yards.

An unfortunate myth is that landscaping is a great job for the working man, but on the contrary, the landscaping industry takes advantage of our most vulnerable workers.  Immigrant laborers carry these machines on their backs for up to 12 hours a day.  Given the 115-decibel noise level right at ear level, their hearing will be severely damaged. Only the very best ear protection available would shield them and usually they wear none. They also breathe the toxic exhaust fumes that can lead to COPD or lung cancer.  (Read about one worker here: https://www.fairwarning.org/2017/09/leaf-blower/)

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Another huge disadvantage is the injury done to our bird populations. Studies show birds display PTSD-like symptoms due to the constant din of unnecessary, overly-loud human activity. These birds are unable to successfully raise their young and are driven from their nests. Our songbirds are in decline as the saying goes, “Where birds thrive, people thrive” but birds are being driven out of our yards and neighborhoods.  (Study about birds and noise: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/noise-pollution-makes-birds-so-stressed-they-experience-ptsdlike-symptoms/)

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Don’t underestimate the pollution caused by these machines. Gas Leaf blowers produce 300X more asthma-inducing, smog-causing pollutants than a pickup truck. According to California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) there are 16 million small engines producing 50 MILLION TONS of smog-forming pollutants and in one area of California alone! This is NOT a small problem.

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LINK to California Air Resource Board (CARB)  information. https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/offroad/sore/sm_en_fs.pdf

Here’s information about leaf blower emissions testing: https://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/features/emissions-test-car-vs-truck-vs-leaf-blower.html

We’ve formed a sustainable yards group and we’re working on educating others about healthier yards and neighborhoods.  Thank you for your consideration of these issues and I hope that our group could meet with you and talk about potential solutions to this problem.

Thank you,

Leslie Nelson Inman

SOURCES:

Study on leaf blower emissions.

LINK: https://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/features/emissions-test-car-vs-truck-vs-leaf-blower.html

California information on small gardening engine pollution. LINK: https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/offroad/sore/sm_en_fs.pdf

Study about Atlanta and Ozone: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935184710218

Atlanta’s Air Quality F for Ozone — Ozone is smog that exacerbates asthma. The report broke down measurements of high ozone days by county. Metro Atlanta, Fulton County earned a score of “F” for ozone pollutions which is basically smog. LINK: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/sota/city-rankings/states/georgia/fulton.html

Georgias’s children’s asthma information 2016: https://dph.georgia.gov/sites/dph.georgia.gov/files/2016%20CHILD%20ASTHMA%20DATA%20SUMMARY%2008.2017.pdf

Landscaping workers suffer ill health.  LINK: https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/02/13/more-pollution-than-cars-gas-powered-gardening-equipment-poses-the-next-air-quality-threat/

 

If You’re Concerned About Migrants and Their Treatment at the Border, What About Those Standing On Your Front Yard?

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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

LINK: https://www.almanacnews.com/news/2015/08/31/air-district-report-leaf-blowers-present-health-risks

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)

LINK: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/9/e022404

 

 

 

 

If You Own Even The Smallest Property, You Own Something Magical

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What kind of land stewardship do you believe in?

If you own even the smallest plot of land

You own something awe-inspiring and magical

You can choose to heal our planet

You can grow food for your family

You can plant native plants

You can save birds, bees, and butterflies

There’s so much potential

Or

You hand your incredible resource over to

The leaf blower crews

Who also routinely spray herbicides and other pesticides

As regular “gardening practices”

Which further add to our environmental degradation

We’re all hoping you’ll make the right choice for the planet.

What If You’re Trying to Save Pollinators, But Others Around You Are Spraying To Kill Them

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Some of us spend money, time and effort planting to help birds and pollinators survive, and yet homeowners who live around us undermine our efforts at every turn!  The unnecessary lawn chemicals and mosquito spraying decimate the pollinators we’re trying to save. Those of us who are planting for pollinators need protection.

If this is your situation too, take the frustration you feel and write one email and then send that email to every lawmaker, council person, and journalist you can find on the email address for on the internet. If you don’t, then my email is the only one they’ll get!  Every time you send an email about your experiences, you’re educating someone.  A journalist may take an interest and share the problem with a wider audience.  To make an idea stick it needs to be repeated 5 or 6 times, so let’s keep sharing and writing. 

I decided to send my email to Senator Hansen first because of the excellent work she’s doing to save wildlife and native plants in Delaware.

Dear Senator Hansen,
     Thank you for highlighting the crucial importance of native plants and their essential role in restoring habitat for birds and pollinators. We need an Ecological Extinction Task Force like yours in every state. Many people across the country are very concerned about the potential extinction of our pollinators and the lack of native plants in landscaping and we’re trying to make a difference in our own yards.
     I’d like to suggest an idea to help the homeowners who are working so hard to ‘Garden for Wildlife’. Let’s reward those that have pollinator and bird habitat yards with a tax break. We need incentives for doing the right thing!
     For example, the American Bee Project gives agricultural tax benefits for land used for European honey bee foraging. Why don’t we give tax breaks to homeowners who provide a place for our native pollinators to forage, breed, and nest safely?
     Pesticide drift is a real concern. Many pollinator gardeners need protection from their neighbors who spray for mosquitoes.  Science tells us there are much smarter and safer answers if there truly is a mosquito issue. Mosquito spraying for profit is a growing industry that is decimating our beneficial insect population.
      Likewise, nothing fits the ‘unnecessary’ category more than lawn chemicals which are completely uncalled-for and they destroy habitat for our ground-nesting bees. 70% of our native bees nest in the ground. These useless and dangerous chemicals kill pollinators many other beneficial insects.
     With the constant loss of habitat, pollinators and birds need to find sanctuary in our yards. Pollinator Friendly Yards are a part of the solution to a big problem and we need help and protection.  Pollinators and birds deserve to have a refuge in native-plant-habitat yards.
      Thank you for considering this. We can all work to save pollinators from extinction and we’ll be saving humanity in the process.
Leslie Nelson Inman
pollinatorfriendlyyards.com
Pollinator Friendly Yards on Facebook
Sources:
Leaf blowers 300x more polluting than a car:
9 billion gallons of water used a day on landscape watering
Some birds so stressed by noise it appears they have PTSD