Help Us End the San Carlos Leaf Blower Nightmare…

Help Us End the San Carlos Leaf Blower Nightmare…

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Matt Michiels started this petition to Mayor of San Carlos CA Hon. Mr. Matt Grocott and

Help Us End the San Carlos Leaf Blower Nightmare…

Click here for a brief video on the ** Leaf Blower Pollution ** problem and if you have time, then read on below for details on this serious problem. Either way, please show your support and sign the petition by clicking the red button to the right. Many thanks!

Plain and simple; leaf blowers are a menace. Their continued unrestrained use pollutes the atmosphere and virtually every part of our daily environment. They cause respiratory problems in children and adults of all ages, generate hour upon hour of continuous stressful noise and contribute to a general lowering of the quality of life we all work so hard for. Its time we as a community did something about it.

No one disputes that landscape professionals and gardeners work hard and provide a wonderful service to those that can afford it. In this high velocity world in which we live, yard work has been transformed from the quiet push mower on Saturday mornings to a virtually nonstop odyssey of crews and their trucks coming and going, generating dust clouds of constant noise and harmful pollution that is suspended into the air we breathe containing everything from pollen, organic waste, animal fecal waste, pesticides, and street dust from automobiles. 

Leaf blowers are one of the primary culprits contributing to this problem. They are also gasoline-consuming monsters that operate on 2-cycle engines release tons of hydrocarbon waste into the atmosphere each year. They consume approximately 1.5 gallons of gasoline for every hour they operate. A single leaf blower can generate more pollution in one hour than a typical car travelling 350 miles. Even the “newer quieter” models are not that quiet or fuel-efficient. In any event no matter how quiet of fuel efficient, they still blow tons of noxious substances into our air that remain suspended for days and can travel for miles. Do we really want all this blowing into our homes for us and our children to breathe? No!

In addition to adverse health effects of carbon monoxidenitrogen oxideshydrocarbons, and particulates generated in the exhaust gas of the gasoline-powered engines, leaf blowers pose problems related to dust raised by the powerful flow of air. Many generate winds of over 100 mph and all of them scour our gardens of nutrients and make noise that regularly trespasses well beyond the boundaries of operation at levels that can damage the hearing of the operator or anyone else nearby.

Too often operators simply blow the dust, debris and leaves onto other peoples property including driveways, cars, and the homes of others.  This is often done without regard for open doors, windows or the safety of small children that may be in nearby residences. Our pets are at risk, too.

This entire problem is further aggravated by the hours of operation currently allowed in our city. Because leaf blowers can operate anytime between 7am and 5pm weekdays and weekends, this means many neighborhoods endure hour upon hour of dust and noise as gardeners come and go at different times throughout the day, any day of the week.

Gardeners operating on weekends seem to have no regard for the residents who work hard during the week so they can enjoy their homes and neighborhoods without the constant cloud of dust and noise permeating nearly every day of the week.  

Its not clear leaf blowers save any more time or effort than simply using a rake and a broom. The is well documented evidence of a grandmother in Southern California literally doing a better job with a rake and broom than the competing leaf blower (

There are thousands of leaf blowers operating throughout California today.  Since the early 1990’s many cities in California have banned or extremely limited their use. Soon after the leaf blower was introduced into the U.S., its use was banned in two California cities, Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1975 and Beverly Hills in 1978, as a noise nuisance. There are currently twenty California cities that have banned leaf blowers, sometimes only within residential neighborhoods and usually targeting gasoline-powered equipment. It’s high time for San Carlos to do the same.

As citizens of San Carlos, we have lost the right to the safe, quiet enjoyment of our homes free from this constant pollution and auditory harassment. San Carlos promotes itself as “The City of Good Living”. The pernicious and unabated use of leaf blowers in our city isn’t it and simply must stop.


We the undersigned residents of San Carlos respectfully request the San Carlos City Counsel immediately undertake the following:


1. Review the underlying data available from independent sources concerning the detrimental effects of leaf blowers; and

2. Seriously consider the needs of San Carlos residents and the effect these machines have on the quality of life in San Carlos and the environment in general; and 

3. Review current local ordinances controlling leaf blowers and other noise in nearby cities such as Palo Alto, Woodside, Atherton and elsewhere and determine if similarly structured regulations would be suitable for San Carlos; and

4. Draft and implement an ordinance by July 1, 2013, that severely curtails the use of any form of leaf blower within 300 feet of any occupied structure within the San Carlos city limits. Such ordinance to address, but not be limited to the following:

a.     Provide any San Carlos resident the legal right to request immediate cessation of use of leaf blower(s) of any type at any time; and

b.     Under very limited circumstances, limit the use of any leaf blower to no more than three specified weekdays between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm, provided no resident objects; and

c.      Provide for civil penalties, including fines that increase substantially with multiple violations for unauthorized or protested leaf blower use within the city limits outside the established regulations; and

d.     Provide for separate civil penalties including fines that increase substantially with multiple violations for any person using a leaf blower that results in any dust or other detritus falling on property without that property owner or resident’s permission.



Top Ten Reasons

Leaf Blowers Should be Severely Restricted or Banned 

Leaf Blowers Are Hazardous to Your Health. Here are 10 reasons why these environmental offenders should be banned.

1. Air Pollution. A gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour as an automobile does over 350 miles. The difference is that a car emits all that pollution over a big stretch of road, while a leaf blower deposits it all in one back or front yard where it can drift into your home and affect children and pets outside.

2. Dangerous chemicals and other substances. Leaf blowers spread and suspend into the air we breath micro particles of herbicides and pesticides, dust, dirt, animal fecal matter and other waste. They blow all of these things, in addition to the noxious exhaust fumes they produce, into your air, over your cars and into the windows of your home where, like it or not, you breathe it every day. It needn’t be this way.

3. Noise. Blowers whine “like dental drills done berserk,” said the Detroit Free-Press. Added the Christian Science Monitor: “Blowers blare and screech, kick up dirt and dust and accomplish very little. A rake is faster, cheaper and quieter.” High decibel noise form leaf blowers has been linked to increased stress levels and a profoundly lowered quality of life.

4. Ineffectiveness. Leaf blowers are a very inefficient, costly and noisy way to capture garden waste. With few exceptions, they have no other use than to move waste onto neighbors’ property (where other gardeners often blow it back.) People should not have to deal with multiple adverse health effects or wash their cars, their windows and sweep their walks repeatedly simply because using a leaf blower seems more convenient to their neighbor's gardener.

5. Quality of life. Night workers who sleep during the day, retired persons, students who need quiet time to write or study, pregnant and new mothers and people who telecommute, or people who simply want to enjoy the quiet of their homes, all need to minimize the loud noises which increasingly assail them during the daytime hours. The current San Carlos ordinance—where blowers are allowed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week—assumes that all of the above people don’t exist. As the pace of technology drives more people into the ‘mobile workforce’ more people will be working from home and this problem will become even more acute.

6.Health concerns. Cal OSHA allows only 20 minutes of aggregate daily exposure to a noise level over 100 decibels, while most gardeners run their blowers at 109, for most of the day. Clearly, most gardeners use leaf blowers far in excess of the level Cal OSHA recommends as safe to the operator. Asthmatics and people with respiratory disease and small children are at risk form leaf blowers in ways simply too numerous to enumerate here. Even if not affected directly, all of us will ultimately pay for ignoring this problem through increased healthcare costs and insurance premiums.

7. Availability of alternate equipment. Gardeners have always had the option to use rakes and brooms and we should encourage them to start. Moreover, we should also reconsider just how ‘clean’ we need our yards to be. Organic matter remaining in gardens is important for healthy soil and vital to water preservation.

8. Track record of other cities. City managers and attorneys in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Del Mar and Claremont all say that for the most part, gardeners have stopped using leaf blowers in their cities, rates have not gone up and that life has been much more peaceful—and healthier, for it.

9. Environmental damage. Gasoline leaf blowers—which have a muzzle velocity of 150 miles per hour or more—blow away topsoil and ground cover which, if left in place, would help soil to hold precious moisture and would minimize the number of times plants have to be watered. This is crucial, especially in drought years. Moreover, this material, in addition to that described above is suspended or re-suspended into the air we breathe and can travel for miles before dissipating.

10. Absence of hard data about adverse impacts in other cities. The standard refrain from gardeners is that they would have to increase their rates if they couldn’t use their blowers. Yet there’s no evidence of that happening in L.A. or any other cities that have banned blowers. To those who say rates would go up without blowers, consider this: did these same gardeners lower their rates in the 1980s after they began using blowers? The fact is a rake is less than $20.00, has no maintenance and can last for years. A leaf blower costs a gardener hundreds of dollars, consumes several gallons of fuel per day and requires expensive maintenance.



0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
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