AUTUMN'S SONG shouldn’t include the LEAF BLOWER...
Fall is a splendid time to celebrate trees. The sounds of leaves crunching underfoot or rustling along the footpath and earthy smells are reminiscent of childhood leaf forts.
Once upon a time, autumn’s song was punctuated by swooshing and sweeping brooms, and scratching of the earth by human-powered rakes. But today, it’s a cacophony of two-stroke, gasoline-powered leaf blowers. It’s disrupting and disconcerting. In fact, it’s deleterious to children, wildlife and the atmosphere.
Every doctor at the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center in New York signed a letter unequivocally stating that leaf blowers pose multiple hazards to human health. Children are the most susceptible because they breathe more air per kilogram of body weight than adults. Their lungs, ears, eyes and autoimmune systems are far more sensitive to environmental hazards. Let’s examine what scientists know about leaf blowers and exactly what kind of harm’s way our children are facing:
According to both the American and Canadian Lung Associations, leaf blowers stir up acutely toxic levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium nickel and mercury in street dust. Exposure to these heavy metals is known to cause irreparable damage to children’s brains, kidneys and central nervous systems.
A gas-powered leaf blower generates more than 75 decibels 16 metres away from the machine. The World Health Organization warns that exposure to loud noise above 75 decibels damages the human ear drum. Japanese fetuses exposed to similar loud noise have been found to weigh less – noise causes constriction of the uterine blood vessel, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to developing babies.