Letter: Leaf blowers do not deserve to be outlawed

In response to “Earth Talk: Should gas-driven leaf blowers be outlawed?,” in which reference was made to my website, I would like to clarify a few things for your readers.

I am a former Vice President of Engineering for Echo Inc., a leading manufacturer of powered lawn care products, including gasoline powered leaf blowers. I provide data and documentation that will help city councils arrive at a workable leaf blower ordinance.  To provide links to documentation supporting my facts, I have created a website.

There are not 170 cities that have some kind of restriction on leaf blowers as stated in the above letter.  There are, however, at least this many cities that have given consideration to controlling blowers, of which many have chosen to do nothing.  My list of cities is only an indication of places where I have contacted law makers providing them with actual facts about the leaf blower.  I do this to contrast the opinions put before them when people ask for a blower ban.

Noise is always the issue, but since quiet leaf blowers are universally available, noise is not a strong argument for banning blowers.  Therefore, other environmental considerations are introduced.  Most of what cities are being told by anti-leaf blower advocates is either out of date, exaggerated or unsupported by facts.  Exhaust emission comparisons provided by CalEPA, for example, are grossly misleading.  They are comparing a car to a leaf blower that was manufactured prior to the implementation of a very low federally mandated emission level.  Unburned hydrocarbons have been reduced by 85 to 90% effective January 1, 2005.

I’m sure there are already many quiet gasoline-powered leaf blowers in your area, but the problem is, if there is only one noisy leaf blower being used in the neighborhood, all leaf blowers are reviled. The solution to the blower issue is to ban the noise, not the blower.  Leaf blowers have a label that indicates the certified sound level making enforcement of a sound limitation requirement easy.

I am not a stakeholder in your community, but never the less, the other side of the story should be considered in order to make an informed decision.  For facts addressing all leaf blower claims, check out my website.

Letter from Larry Will, BSME, Leaf Blower Information Specialist, ECHO Inc

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