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Gas blowers are a health risk

Posted on October 31, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The long and often contentious path leading up to Measure V has brought increasing factual light to a topic that has long simmered in the background of my experience: From my father’s bicycle accident as a 70-something, when he came around a bend on the bike trail of his neighborhood, and an unexpected leaf blower tossed dust into his eyes temporarily blinding him. Or the many times around Sonoma when I’ve had to cross streets to move away from the excessive noise levels of leaf blowers that made it all-but-impossible to continue conversing with friends. Or the simple noxious emissions as I’ve passed by. (I shudder to think of the landscapers/gardeners using such blowers for hours a day.)

Over and above the obvious inconveniences to those of us passing by — in terms of noise and pollution — there is now an overwhelming body of evidence that they pose a frank health risk to those using them, while often needlessly disrupting vital environmental processes (in terms of insects and microorganisms). Measure V seems a measured and reasonable compromise between the two camps of the leaf blower debate. It allows electric or battery powered blowers from 9 am–4 pm. Electric and battery blowers are quieter, yet still efficient, and without the harmful fumes and powerfully heated air. Measure V has my Yes vote!

Steve Meloan, Sonoma 

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