Local Subcommittee to Revisit Leaf Blower Health Risks
The Board of Health is expected to appoint a subcommittee aimed at evaluating the health hazards associated with the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.
If Marblehead residents had passed the proposed ban on gas-powered leaf blowers that stirred up a town-wide debate last spring, local landscapers and homeowners would be barred from using them starting Sept. 15.
But that was not the case - as the proposal calling for a seasonal ban was defeated by less than 100 votes at Town Meeting in May.
Now, nearly four months later, the Board of Health is planning to appoint a local subcommittee to review the health risks associated with leaf blowers.
Prior to the meeting, Health Director Andrew Petty said the formation of the group had to be bumped back because a key organizer will be moving out of Marblehead.
"The other people in the group are still planning on moving forward with it, it just won't be happening tonight," Petty said before the meeting.
The majority of the voters gathered at Marblehead Veterans Middle School in May voted in favor of indefinitely postponing the seasonal ban, which would have run from Sept. 15 to May 15, by a margin of 285 to 211.
Ban proponents argued that leaf blowers pose a health risk to local residents because they are very noisy; the exhaust they produce is bad for the environment; and they blow particles into the air that can be potentially dangerous.
While opponents argued that the decibel level produced by leaf blowers is no louder than other commonly-used power tools; that the ban would make simple tasks more time consuming for landscaping crews; and local residents would have to pay more to have their properties maintained as a result.
It is unclear when the Board of Health will revisit the appointment of subcommittee members. Marblehead Patch will be posting additional information as it becomes available.
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