Ban Leaf Blowers in San Diego

Ban Leaf Blowers in San Diego

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Leaf Blower Ban San Diego started this petition to Barbara Bry and

Mission Statement

For a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable future in San Diego, we aim to ban the use of leaf blowers that increase carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, pollute our environment, cause long-term hearing damage, emit dangerous exhaust and disrupt communities. 

We are urging the City of San Diego to implement a phase-out plan for gas and electric leaf blowers, thereby making a sizable contribution to the City’s Climate Action Plan, whose goal is to eliminate half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the City of San Diego by 2035. 

4 Reasons to phase out leaf blowers

Leaf blowers are perhaps the most overused and inappropriately used landscape tool of all time. It is widely documented that leaf blowers are harmful to our community and the environment. Close to 100 U.S. cities, including our nation's capital, have banned or restricted the use of leaf blowers. 

The daily use of leaf blowers in our neighborhoods abuses the soil, damages landscape plants while creating environmental and health hazards for the operators and residents. Reasons to ban leaf blowers in San Diego are as follows:

1: Obsolete technology  - over the last 70 years engine research and development has led to higher efficiency in jet engines and in the cars we drive. Today, the average car on America’s street is almost 200 percent more efficient than in 1950, and smog-causing emissions from cars are about 99 percent lower.
So why do we still allow the obsolete “two-stroke engine”, that powers many leaf blowers, to buzz around our neighborhoods during daylight hours, seven days a week? If you’ve seen a tuk‑tuk, one of the noisy tricycle-style taxis in places such as Bangkok and Jakarta, with purple smoke wafting out of its tailpipe, you’ve seen a two-stroke engine in action. But you won’t see as many of them in those cities anymore, because governments in Asia and elsewhere have been banning and phasing out two-stroke engines on anti pollution grounds.In 2014 a study published in Nature Communications found that VOC emissions (a variety of carbon gases that can produce smog and harm human beings) were on average 124 times higher from an idling two-stroke scooter than from a truck or a car. 

Two-stroke engines have largely disappeared from the scooter, moped, and trail-bike markets in America. Regulators around the world are pushing older two-stroke engines toward extinction.

Yet they remain the propulsive force behind the 200-mph winds coming out of many backpack leaf blowers. As a product category, this is a narrow one. But the impact of these little machines is significant. In 2017, the California Air Resources Board issued a warning that may seem incredible but has not been seriously challenged: By 2020, gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and similar equipment in the state could produce more ozone pollution than all the millions of cars in California combined. Two-stroke engines are that dirty. Cars have become that clean.

Electric leaf blowers do not produce the toxic pollutants that result from a gas exhaust but create almost as much noise pollution as the gas powered leaf blowers and stir up the same polluting debri from the ground (pollen, mold, animal feces, dust etc…). They raise electricity bills and are only good for small spaces, not large ones.

2: Air pollution and emissions (carcinogens) - According to the California Air Resources Board the types of air pollutants emitted when using a gasoline-powered leaf blower for half an hour are equivalent to those emitted from 440 miles of automobile travel at 30mph average speed. Compared to an average large car, one hour of operation of a leaf blower emits 498 times as much hydrocarbons, 49 times as much particulate matter and 26 times as much carbon monoxide. 
Leaf blowers contribute to smog and ozone pollution. The inefficient two stroke engine on a leaf blower often releases as much as 25% of its raw, unburned gasoline in its exhaust, according to studies by the Air Resources Board of the CA EPA. The exhaust contains unacceptable levels of harmful hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen, both pollutants which contribute to smog and other health problems. 

Reducing the use of leaf blowers helps reduce levels of ozone, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter as regulated by the Clean Air Act. When the City of Los Angeles reduced the number ofleaf blowers operating in the LA area by 1,500 it was estimated to eliminate up to 14 tons of harmful emissions annually. 

3: Worker safety and OSHA - Landscape contractors operating leaf blowers are routinely exposed to sounds above 85 decibels, experts agree this will lead to hearing loss overtime. The noise levels experienced by the operators of leaf blowers are dangerous to their ears and can cause permanent hearing loss. 

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) requires hearing protection for any workers using equipment that generates noise over 85 decibels. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) "there is an increasing predictable risk" of hearing damage from noise above 75 decibels. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, half the wearers of hearing protectors do not get the expected benefit, due to improper fit or failure to wear them continuously. Many workers do not even wear protection at all. Not surprisingly, there is evidence of unusually high levels of hearing loss in landscape workers. 

In addition landscape workers are breathing in particulate matter stirred up by and the emissions from the leaf blowers is also detrimental to worker health. Among the substances blown into the air and respired are heavy metals, pesticides, animal feces and other carcinogenic substances. In addition, the exhaust from the two stroke engine also contains benzene and other carcinogens. Many landscape workers are operating leaf blowers for a large part of their day and are probably not aware of the adverse effects on their ears and lungs.

4: Noise and mental/emotional distress - Leaf blowers emit sounds at decibel and frequency levels that cause severe mental and emotional distress.  The constant use of leaf blowers in our neighborhoods reduces the productivity of our citizens (many people work at home), disturb sleeping infants and children, and they cause rise in blood pressure, adrenaline, heart rate and nervous stress. To put it mildly, they drive people crazy. Noise also degrades our quality of life. It reduces communication. It interferes with our ability to enjoy being outdoors, or taking walks, or working or playing in our own backyards. It is an uncivil and selfish act to subject one's neighbors to a half hour or hour of deafening noise every week in order to have a pristine lawn area.

The World Health Organization recommends noise levels of 55 decibels or less, 45 decibels to meet sleep criteria. A leaf blower generally measures at least 70-75 decibels at 50 feet away and far higher at close range. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that noise levels over 75 decibels can cause hearing loss and are harmful to human health.

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0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!