Leaf Blowers and Noise Pollution

For a printable summary of all the science click here >

Click on the [LINK] for the complete document

A full summary of article about noise pollution a can be found in the Noise pollution Clearing House Online Library [NPC_OL]

Many gas leaf blowers impact the operator’s ears at 100 decibels or more.noise exposures from leaf lowers may be high enough that operators are at increased risk of developing hearing loss.[CAL-EPA]

Leaf blowers can cause irreversible hearing damage to the million-plus lawn workers who use them [ACSH]

Measurements indicate that the gas leaf blowers have a significantly greater low-frequency component. This low-frequency sound creates a different acoustic quality of the sound of gas leaf blowers versus battery leaf blowers. Because the low-frequency sound travels further, it is audible over greater distances, transmits most easily through the windows and glass doors of homes, and is more audible inside the home. The measured gas leaf blowers have a greater noise impact on the community than the measured battery-powered blowers.[CP]

Even gas blowers that are rated by the industry as emitting the same 65 decibels as battery blowers are significantly noisier. [ARUP]

The low frequency noise from gas blowers travels much longer distances and penetrates windows more easily and therefore affects a significantly larger numbers of neighbors in urban settings.  [ARUP]

Noise exposures from leaf lowers may be high enough that operators are at increased risk of
developing hearing loss.[CAL-EPA] 

91 decibels for 2 hours or 100 decibels for only 15 minutes a day can result in permanent hearing loss [CDC]

The noise that causes sensorineural hearing loss is usually not one deafening bang, but decades worth of exposure to the high-decibel accessories of daily life that includes leaf blowers and other sources. [JB]

Even exposure to an average of 75 decibels over a lifetime can result in permanent hearing loss. [PF]

Adverse effects from noise include cardiovascular impacts, and effects on the immune system and on development. [PF]

Low frequency noise such as emitted by gas blowers is such a special health concern that additional protection is warranted, especially for children, the elderly, and other sensitive populations. [BNE]

Workers frequently walk into the path of approaching traffic since they cannot hear the traffic because of the noise. [BNE]

Loud noise interferes with habitats and life cycles of birds and animals.[BNE]

Where the legislation is under Noise Ordinance, enforcement is impractical since it requires the presence of an inspector with a noise meter at the time of the violation.[HY]  

Some communities require citizens calling in to make reports about noise disturbance, which they are reluctant to do. [HY]

Landscape companies have trouble following varying ordinances. [HY]

Leaf blowing is an entry-level job where the worker has little job security or control over the equipment (hearing protection) he must use. [PF]

OSHA policy requires that employers use safe equipment to protect workers (e.g. battery-powered blowers) but hearing protectors are often not effective in preventing hearing loss because of their poor quality and the need for even the high quality protectors to fit correctly. [CP]

The finding that lawn and garden equipment sound remains higher than WHO outdoor daytime sound level standards of 55 dB(A), out to 800 feet from the point of operation, raises concerns regarding impact on communities. [NCBI]