Our Health Comes First. Ban Leaf Blowers
Good Health Is Good Business  
From Ellie Goldberg, Newton, MA 02459 6/5/15
TO: kdean@newtonma.gov, Program and Services Committee, Newton Aldermen
RE:  Proposed Ordinance #31-15 (LEAF BLOWERS)
We share the air. Let's take BETTER ACTION NOW (BAN).

We need a public health policy based on an ethic of community that sets a high standard for health protection and pollution prevention.

I hope you agree that it is unacceptable that in a short fifteen-minute early morning walk to the Newton Center T station from my home you would walk through the gritty fog created by from five to ten crews each using multiple leaf blowers.    

We need to stop the use of leaf blowers to protect us all from the deafening barrage of noise and noxious clouds of fumes, particulates, pesticides, feces, mold and pollen that assault us not only when we are outside but that come through our windows into our homes.  

Please do not be confused by business owners who defend leaf blowers as a wonderful innovation and claim that it is more efficient to use leaf blowers or that they would need to charge higher fees.

That claim reminds me of a phone call I got when I started working to try to stop Newton's use of pesticides on the school playing fields and parks. The angry caller told me that her family depended on her husband's job as a pesticide applicator. I told her that I support pest control professionals who are knowledgeable about preventative and corrective measures, but that I do not accept that a business has a license to poison my children or her children.

In fact, the use of leaf blowers indicates an ignorance of or indifference to good horticultural principles and safe practice. For example, the landscape crew that works across the street from me often has three or more leaf blowers going at the same time, often chasing just a few leaves off a driveway. Then they stroll up the street to another client, leaf blowers going, spewing street debris, mold spores, weed seeds, and fungal diseases on gardens and lawns far and wide.

A full ban would protect even those neighbors who ignore the damage and distress they cause themselves and others.  And it would protect the workers who are the most exposed to the air pollution and noise. Most often they work with no personal protection equipment. We know they will live with the lung damage and hearing loss for the rest of their lives.  

A full ban on leaf blowers would show that Newton values our health and supports those local professionals whom we can trust to safeguard our health and the health of our landscapes. 

Good health is good business.  I support a full ban on leaf blowers and urge you to take 


The more they dig, the more they find: DDT cleanup continues for mid-Michigan town. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2015/jun/michigan-superfund-ddt-epa-birds-health-pesticide
Federal, state officials are making progress cleaning up harmful chemicals in St. Louis, Michigan, but more work remains and there is still no health study.*
June 11, 2015 By Brian Bienkowski Environmental Health News

ST. LOUIS, Mich. — During recent summers birds were found littered around the town, poisoned with a long-banned pesticide.

This summer? The school athletic grounds, where kids practice football and softball, are being dug up after it was discovered they too are contaminated with DDT.

It is the latest chapter in a seemingly endless effort to rid this small, rural mid-Michigan town of toxic chemicals that have plagued it since the 1960s. And, despite wildlife deaths and some lawns contaminated to levels deemed harmful to humans, no one is conducting health testing on DDT exposure in the community.

Schoolyard contamination
St. Louis, an hour drive north of state capital Lansing, has long dealt with contamination left behind by the Velsicol Chemical Corp., formerly Michigan Chemical, which manufactured pesticides until 1963 and abandoned loads of DDT, which was banned 40 years ago.

The pesticide was made famous by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, which exposed the hazards of DDT, especially for birds, in 1962. Populations of bald eagles and other birds crashed when DDT thinned their eggs, killing their embryos. Exposure also has been linked to multiple health problems in humans, especially developing babies.

*Read full article