Healthier Air for $20 a Month? The Case for Eliminating the Use of Leaf Blowers by Our Gardeners

Do you enjoy breathing particulate matter that has fertilizer, metals, gasoline, animal feces and pesticides?  If you asked, “What kind of question is that?” and responded, “Of course I don’t,” then it’s time to ask another question: Do you have a gardener that uses a leaf blower?

According to a California Air Resources Board study, “By 2020, leaf blowers and other small gas engines will create more ozone pollution than all of the passenger cars in the state.”

On StreetsLA, the Bureau of Street Services (visit: states: “Gas-powered leaf blowers increase the presence of airborne particles, which may cause problems for persons suffering from asthma, hay fever, or other upper respiratory ailments. Los Angeles Municipal (LAMC) Section 112. 04 (c) bans the use of the gas-powered leaf blower device to minimize the nuisance and health related problems attributed to this type of equipment.”

Palisadian Pepper Edmiston, who is leading efforts to have the LAPD enforce the leaf-blower ordinance, wrote Circling the News on May 2: “Recently an article came out on the BBC website focusing on the relationship between dirty air and people’s ability to fight Covid-19.”

In that article, Aaron Bernstein of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote: “You could pick any city in the world and expect to see an effect of air pollution on people’s risk of getting sicker from coronavirus.”

Given the pollution caused by gas-powered leaf blowers and the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a perfect time to ask your gardener to switch to a different method of moving leaves and dirt.

CTN asked Edmiston, “What if everyone who allows their gardener to use a gas blower would give their gardener an electric blower or maybe just pay an additional $20 a month?”

Edmiston responded, “ALL blowers are bad. When we got the 1998 ban passed, we didn’t have the votes to ban electric & battery, so we just got the ban for gas/blowers.”

Then Edmiston said something really interesting. “We also held a race between gardeners with a blower and those with a rake. There was less than a five-minute difference. So, maybe $20/month would do the trick.”

If your gardener would accept $20 extra a month to put the blower away and use a rake, would you consider this extra expense? Not only would it be better for your health, but also for your gardener’s.

LAMC Section 112.04 bans the use of gas-powered leaf blower devices within 500 feet of a residence at any time. Violation of the ban is $100. The Los Angeles Police Department has primary enforcement responsibility: 1-800-ASK-LAPD. Residents may also register complaints with Street Services Investigation and Enforcement Division, Department of Public Works: 800-996-CITY.

“Why people allow gardeners to poison our air is beyond me,” Edmiston said.


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5 Responses to Healthier Air for $20 a Month? The Case for Eliminating the Use of Leaf Blowers by Our Gardeners

  1. Adam Wolman says:

    Now that respiratory illness is top of mind, let’s talk to our gardeners and neighbors and insist on alternatives to toxic, obnoxious, outmoded gas blowers.

    If enough of us care, and stand up for

    • the environment
    • quality of life (noise pollution can be both physically and mentally harmful)
    • fresh, safe air for our gardeners and everyone in the Palisades

    we can finally make this happen. Well worth the effort!

  2. Julie Hanson says:

    Thank you this post about leaf blowers. Perhaps the connection between Covid-19 and the pollution caused by the blowers will cause some homeowners to finally do what is legal and right and get rid of these machines. We also know they cause high levels of noise pollution which discourage birds and other animals, especially during nesting season, kill beneficial insects and bugs, and displace bird nests. There’s actually nothing good about leaf blowers. The personal and environmental health benefits should make $20 well worth it!

  3. BT says:

    We don’t allow our gardener to use one.

    Never have.

    Our biggest complaint are the ones who don’t seem to understand there are settings that allow one to blow leaves and cuttings SLOWLY and GENTLY and not just blast the crap out of everything stirring up dirt and blowing everything intothe street and neighbors’ property

  4. C. Jones says:

    This year we had our gardener ditch the blower and switch to a rake. We are fine with the results, and probably would never have know the difference. Even though slightly less manicuring gets done, the trade off having rid ourselves of noise pollution and less dirty air blowing around is well worth it. Highly recommended!

  5. Wendy Alkire Suhr says:

    This is an important message to keep in mind during this pandemic. The health of our lungs is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system, and these leaf blowers are disgustingly noxious and destructive. And have I mentioned that they stink?!
    Thank you, Pepper!

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