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Landscapers Call For End to Ban On Leaf Blowers

The California Landscape Contractors Association is calling on the state’s 20 cities that have enacted bans on leaf blower bans to overturn the restrictions.

The move comes in the wake of a California Air Resources Board report that failed to find serious health or environmental consequences when the newest technology is used properly.

“Total bans are overkill and extremely harmful to working class people, and we hope they will be lifted by communities that have so far gone to those extremes,” said David Norred, president of the CLCA.

The board’s staff wrote the 61-page report to summarize the potential health and environmental impacts of leaf blowers. The report was released Dec. 13.

The document examines the effects of exhaust emissions, dust emissions and noise. While the report raises some areas of concern about all three, it does not conclude that the equipment is more of a problem than many other types of common home appliances, nor does it make recommendations for alternatives, Norred said.

Landscape workers, who may be next to the machines for several hours a day, appear to be far more likely to be affected by any potential impacts than bystanders or individuals who occasionally use the machines around their own homes, said Norred.

“Landscape maintenance contractors and gardeners should learn from this report by (using) sure appropriate breathing and hearing protection purchasing the quietest available leaf blower technology, and shifting as quickly as possible to 2000 models that are significantly less polluting than older ones.”

Pending legislation, co-sponsored by the Landscape Contractors Association, would help address the potential impacts mentioned in the report.

Assembly Bill 1609, written by Tony Cardenas, D-Sylmar, would authorize cities and counties to ban all but the quietest available leaf blower technology, require testing and certification of blowers used for commercial purposes, and mandate common-sense rules of leaf blower courtesy.

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