“Environmental justice requires that all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, have the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards.”   

OPAL – Environmental Justice Oregon

 

Environmental justice is a critical element of the Quiet Clean PDX effort to eliminate the use of gas powered leaf blowers.

The health risks associated with gas powered lawn and garden equipment are highest for those who operate this equipment regularly. They are exposed to high levels of toxic pollutants and fine particulates for many hours each day. They are also exposed to high levels of noise that can quickly induce permanent hearing loss if proper ear protection is not worn at all times.

Workers don’t always have a say in the equipment they’re required to use. Yet no one will benefit more immediately and over time from the elimination of gas-powered leaf blowers than the workers who use them. We believe anyone who can accomplish the same task using safer equipment should use the safer equipment.

There is no evidence that regulations restricting gas powered leaf blower use have an adverse economic impact on lawn care or maintenance contractors or workers.  We believe that properly enacted policies by local and state governments can ensure an equitable transition away from gas powered leaf blowers that creates a level playing field for all businesses regardless of their size and which protects the rights of all workers who use this equipment. 

For the health of workers, for the public health of all citizens and for our environment, it’s time for our elected officials to recognize the urgency of this matter and eliminate the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.