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 , 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 .

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.

At their meeting at Tuesday night, board members postponed an agenda item calling for the formation of a local Leaf Blower Subcommittee.

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 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.

Where do you stand on this issue? Let us know by sharing your opinion in our comments section below.

Richard Gindes September 05, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Good suggestion Jack. Just spoke with Andrew Petty at the Board of Health and he said there has been no subcommittee formed to revisit this issue and that this story is not true.
Richard Gindes September 05, 2012 at 03:05 PM
He agreed with the principle that the voters wishes should be respected...
Dayle Persons September 05, 2012 at 03:11 PM
To me the noise is the issue...they are soooooo loud and when a landscaper has 2 and sometimes 3 of his people blowing them at the same time...why not make it from maybe only 10 to 4 or something like that so sick people can maybe sleep a little later? I do not use one but I cannot control my neighbors using them.
Thomas K. Martin September 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Get a life ---- its not like its every day in your neighborhood and when it does occur its not lasting all day, only a few minutes. If you are so picky, move somewhere else and leave those who find it convenient or use it for their businesses alone! Like someone else said, "whats next, lawn mowers, snow blowers, trimmers,, etc.,etc.
Lanie Nelson January 23, 2013 at 09:57 PM
This pollution has been studied and proven , one leaf blower, gas powered emits the same pollution as 17 cars would over one hour, (only exhaust is included, not fecal matter, pesticides as other contaminants that are blown into the air while in operation and for up to four hours afterward depending on the outdoor temperature. Who wants fecal matter from pets in their lungs? I have been researching this for our upcoming discussions, and was astounded at the scientific information available. Also look at the Orange County Grand Jury decision from 2000? For pollution data, and PCM data found by following the sources cited.


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