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Leaf Blowers: Do You Support a Ban?

St. Helena residents are debating a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers. Other cities already have leaf blower bans on the books. Question of the week: Does Napa need to rein in the gas-combustion blowers? Share your thoughts.

As reported in the local press, St. Helena residents have been debating the pros and cons of a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

They're not alone: Patch sites around the country have been reporting on ban-the-blower controversies in more cities than I have room to name.

  • Burlingame  to restrict the use of leaf blowers by day, hour and zone. 
  • San Mateo's mayor wants to .
  • After a seasonal leaf-blower ban was passed in Arlington, Mass., opponents mounted a ballot measure to repeal it ().

More than two dozen California cities already have leaf-blower laws, according to William Lyman of St. Helena, who is pushing for a ban there.

Ban boosters like Lyman cite noise and carbon emissions as reasons to rein in the gas-engine-fired blowers used to tidy the grounds around homes and businesses.

"What's wrong with a rake?" asked one woman quoted in the St. Helena Star.

Opponents of a blower ban argue that restricting use of the tool is too much regulation and will raise landscaping costs.

"I firmly believe the majority of residents oppose this measure as arbitrary," wrote Michael Baggish, M.D. in a letter to the Star calling for a voter referendum on the issue.

Our question of the week: Do you think Napa needs to consider a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers? 

Take our poll, and let us know in the comments what you think.

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Wayah August 06, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Things to consider: Noise Pollution Air pollution from 2 cycle fuel More air pollutants they put in the air while the operator is working with it and he is the only one using a mask! Alternatives would be to vacume up debris, yes it can be done. No leaf blowers in use after 5:00 P.M. on any day within city limits. No leaf blowers on weekends or holidays or during special events within the city limits.
Jamie Clemons August 07, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Most times when its gas leaf blower the guys are pretty much rude about it.. They will sometimes aim the blower as a person walks by towards cars or TOWARDS the person walking by! Plus the gas+oil mixer isn't so well environmental good. Whats wrong with electrical blowers? nothing they get the job done as well.
Chris Gillespie October 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Home Owners who hire landscape contractors that use leaf blowers must be oblivious to the nuisance they cause their neighbors because they aren't home while the rest of us are subjected to the 90-110dB average noise leaf blowers create, or they just don’t care. Leaf blowers put particulate matter such as mold, feces, pesticides, herbicides, allergens and dust containing mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium in the air increasing asthma, and lung disease. they have been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The debris blown off yards clog storm drains and pollute waterways. In the Bay Area alone blowers account for 1.4 tons a day of smog-forming compounds and 15 tons of carbon monoxide. A leaf blower running for one hour produces as much carbon-based air pollution as a car driven 100 miles. In Burlingame 55% of residents are home while leaf blowers are being used. Napa statistics are probably similar. The 103dB noise pollution contributes to stress disorders such as anxiety, depression, hypertension, high blood pressure with levels regularly exceed EPA and World Health Organization safety levels of 55dB in neighborhood non-work environments and 35dB around schools and hospitals. At home noise above 50dB is an annoyance. Noise above 55 dB is considered a serious noise threat. Leaf blowers are a public nuisance and should be regulated by local ordinances similar to Birlingame. reference: http://www.burlingame.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=7862
Mark Mathews October 12, 2012 at 02:22 AM
I really don't like leaf blowers; I use a portable leaf sucker with a mulcher unit that empties into a bag myself, purchased at Sears and made in the good old U.S.A. Leaf blowers only pass on the problem to the neighbors, and is the sign of people who care not for those neighbors. I never use it before 0900, when most folks are up and about.
Jan B October 12, 2012 at 07:30 AM
My neighbors gardner blows all of the pine needles from her huge unkept tree into my driveway, yard and the street in front of my house. I have asked both the gardner and the homeowner to stop and it continues week after week, what a mess! I think it's time to buy one of my own to get my point across. Any other suggestions?

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