A community organization in Oakville, whose concern is the overuse of noisy, polluting leaf blowers

Leaf blowers - proposed restrictions in the town of Oakville

by Ted Mitchell MD, BEng

"This article investigates some of the known and potential harms arising from the use of leaf blowers and their impact on quality of life in city neighbourhoods..."

Leaf blowers, originally designed as crop dusters, have aggressively blasted their unnecessary force into our formerly serene residential areas.  Blowers produce 180-200 mph air speeds, which obliterate essential topsoil, beneficial microbes, and disperse animal feces, allergens, fungi, spores, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals (arsenic, mercury and lead) into our air. This is appalling for everyone's health. Blower-use in home areas must be stopped by municipal governments. Immediately. Their hurricane-force wind-speeds disturb and disseminate 'unseen' particles which:

> stimulate allergic symptoms and asthma
> aggravate pulmonary conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), bronchitis, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis. 

The harmful emissions and pollutants caused by leaf blowers are so extreme, that The American Lung Association recommends all individuals avoid them.

Breathing the particulate matter stirred up leaf blowers is detrimental to operator health. Property maintenance workers are running leaf blowers 7-8 hours per day, with markedly adverse effects especially on their hearing and lungs, even impacting their eyes and skin.

Excessive noise (85-120 decibels), which leaf blowers obviously produce, affects your health in numerous ways, including increased blood pressure, headaches, residual 'ringing-in-ears', sleep disturbances, reduced ability to concentrate, diminution in students’ ability-to-learn, marked increases in 'general stress' reactions, even lasting hours after exposure. 

Stress reactions in our bodies are easily measured by blood level increases of adrenaline and cortisone.  

Daily, prolonged stimuli, causing outpourings of stress hormones cause unnecessary and excessive inflammation in our bodies, precursors of most diseases and painful conditions (arthritis is one common example).  

More information & resources

Ban Leaf Blowers Dr. Andrew Weil

Leaf Blowers Blow a Lot More than Leaves Web MD

Modern pestilence, leaf blowers generate infuriating noise, toxic gases and hazardous dust Alternet

Health Experts Sound The Alarm On Possible Health Risks Of Leaf Blowers CBS New York


Essential Reading

Dr. Ted Mitchell is a Hamilton, Ontario resident, emergency physician and sometimes agitator who recently completed a BEng at McMaster University. He is fascinated by aspects of our culture that are harmful, but avoid serious public discussions.