We are often asked if we have examples of letters individuals can send to municipal officials, neighbors, and landscapers, to encourage them to restrict the use of leaf blowers. Here is Long Island attorney Merrill B Gugerty’s recent letter to his Town Supervisor.
Dear Mr. Saladino,
I am an attorney who lives in Bayville. I recently heard that you and the Town of Oyster Bay are thinking of restricting the use of gas leaf and lawn blowers, which I think is an excellent idea.
I practice out of my home and while I’d like to have the windows open for fresh air, weather permitting, invariably once I get all of the windows open and a nice breeze is blowing through, a blower starts up with their incredibly loud, distracting and annoying noise. I can’t dictate, talk on the phone with someone, or think with all of that racket, so I then shut all the windows, turn on the air-conditioner and usually by the time that happens, the blower has stopped right around then. I’d rather have fresh air than air-conditioning so I go through the process of once again shutting the AC, opening up all the windows, and by that time, another blower usually starts up.
I also like to sit out in the backyard to eat at the picnic table, relax under a shade tree and read or just have some quiet time, which hardly ever happens from the spring through the fall because a blower will start up somewhere and destroy my peace.
I have learned, after looking into this, that blowers blow the chemicals that people and companies put into their soil and lawns and makes it airborne, which is incredibly dangerous. They also blow up mold and anything else that’s in the ground, where dormant they may not be as harmful, but once airborne they’re breathed in by infants, adults, pets, wildlife, and any creature that breathes.
Of great concern, are the workers who use the blowers without masks or ear protection and who are undoubtedly getting lung disease and hearing impairment. I’ve also learned that using a good old rake is actually as or more efficient timewise in getting the job done than a blower.
Years ago, when blowers first came on the scene, I would watch someone blowing the grass cuttings, dirt and leaves off their yard into the road and/or onto someone else’s yard, either directly or once the wind later blew them there. I thought to myself that this is a backwards step in our evolution. Now, people, instead of raking up leaves, grass and sticks on their own yard, bagging them and putting them in the trash, are merely blowing them onto a neighbor’s property or the street where it ends up on a number of neighbors properties. It’s just moving the mess around.
I’ve now learned that it’s actually much more dangerous than that. The gas spilled while filling the blowers goes into the soil. The potential health effects related to these machines include cancer, asthma, breathing and hearing problems. Since gas blowers are not subject to emissions control, I believe they are worse polluters than motor vehicles.
If you and the Town of Oyster Bay can restrict the use of gas blowers, I think it would be a great step forward towards protecting the health and well-being of residents, workers, people visiting and traveling through the Town of Oyster Bay, as well as its pets and wildlife.
Merrill B. Gugerty, Esq.
With thanks to Bonnie Sager, OD, Huntington CALM
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