Ban polluting leaf blowers in City of Orange

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Dear Mayor Murphy and City Council,

Leaf blowers are a major source of noise and air pollution in our neighborhoods.  Negative impacts to humans, animals and the environment include anxiety, stress, hearing impairment, chronic respiratory issues, soil erosion, water loss and decreased survival rate of trees and plants.  It is recommended that they be banned in the City of Orange to preserve our health and well being.

LEAF BLOWER POLLUTION HAZARDS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Orange County Grand Jury - http://www.ocgrandjury.org/pdfs/leafblow.pdf

The widespread daily usage of two-cycle gasoline engine leaf blowers in the cities and unincorporated areas presents a health hazard to all citizens of Orange County.

SUMMARY
The hazards are four-fold:

- Toxic exhaust fumes and emissions are created by gas-powered leaf blowers. Exhaust pollution per leaf blower per hour is the equivalent of the amount of smog from 17 cars driven one hour and is localized in the area of blower usage.

- The high-velocity air jets used in blowing leaves whip up dust and pollutants.
The particulate matter (PM) swept into the air by blowing leaves is composed of dust, fecal matter, pesticides, fungi, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, and street dirt which consists of lead and organic and elemental carbon. About five pounds of PM per leaf blower per hour are swept into the air and take hours to settle.

- The quantity of pollution products that are injected into county air.
The total amount of pollutants injected into the environment by blower usage in the county is significant. The ARB calculates that leaf blowers inject 2.11 tons of combustion pollutants per day into Orange County air. Leaf blowers in the County sweep twenty tons per day of small size particulate matter into the air.

- Blower engines generate high noise levels.
Gasoline-powered leaf blower noise is a danger to the health of the blower operator and an annoyance to the non-consenting citizens in the area of usage.

In light of the evidence, the Grand Jury determined the health hazards citizens are exposed to by the use of leaf blowers outweigh the questionable economic benefit blowers may bring to the cities and the County. The Grand Jury recommends that the cities, school districts, community college districts, and the County cease using gas powered blowers in their maintenance and cleanup operations.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- California Cities with Complete Gas and Electric Blower Ban:
Del Mar, Hermosa Beach, Laguna Beach, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica

- Cities with Complete Gas Blower Ban:
Belvedere, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Carmel, Claremont, Indian Wells, Lawndale, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Malibu, Mill Valley, Newport Beach, Ojai, Palo Alto, Piedmont, Santa Barbara, Solana Beach, Tiburon, West Hollywood

- Encinitas and Palm Springs are currently considering a ban.
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- Healthy & Affordable Alternatives:
Rake; broom; push lawn sweeper; allow leaves to biodegrade to increase soil nutrients, retain moisture & prevent erosion