Facts & Myths

Despite being a chronic nuisance and public health hazard, leaf blowers are becoming more common and more powerful. The harmful exhaust, dangerous dust and extreme noise they create is harmful to everyone – especially children and seniors. Bottom line: leaf blowers may seem like a temporary annoyance but they are a serious threat to public health and the environment.

The facts are clear

  1. The American Lung Association, the EPA, the World Health Organization and others have established that leaf blowers are a serious health hazard.

  2. Noxious exhaust and fine particulate matter generated by leaf blowers is linked to cancer, lung disease and respiratory illness.

  3. Noise pollution poses serious health risks including hearing loss, stress, hypertension and productivity loss.

  4. Workers using gas powered leaf blowers and the nearby public, are exposed to formaldehyde, benzene, fine particulate matter and dangerously high decibel levels.

  5. The winds generated by blowers destroy habitats for beneficial insects and deplete topsoil.

  6. Leaf blower manufacturers recommend safe distances between leaf blowers and pedestrians that is nearly impossible to establish in urban environments.

The myths don’t hold up

  1. Any prohibition on the use of leaf blowers will ruin my business.”

    There is no evidence that using hand tools and the occasional electric blower will cause a business to close. In fact, some lawn maintenance contractors only use electric tools.

  2. Because gas leaf blowers are powerful they do the job quickly so they don’t pollute much.”

    The California Air Resources Board states that, for the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2016 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles, and that leaf blowers and other small engines will be the number one source of air pollution in California by 2020.

  3. Electric leaf blowers aren’t powerful enough to do the job.

    Electric blowers generate winds of up to 200 mph. A category 5 hurricane has wind speeds of 156 mph.

  4. It’s no one’s business what I do on my private property”.

    If you live in a city, your property is surrounded by other properties. More and more people work from home. Children and retired people eat, sleep, play and relax in their homes. They are all impacted by the noise and pollution generated by leaf blowers.

  5. Portland already has rules regarding leaf blowers.

    The existing noise ordinance is unenforced and ineffective at regulating leaf blower use.