Below is a sample letter that Providence / RI residents can send to local and state policymakers, asking them
to sponsor or support legislation and policies to limit the adverse health and environmental effects of gas-powered leafblowers and other landscaping tools.
Subject line (if e-mail): Please take action to regulate leafblowers
As one of your constituents, I’m writing to urge you to promote and support legislation and policies to combat the noise and air pollution generated by gas-powered leafblowers in Providence / Rhode Island. Though often dismissed as merely an annoyance, gas-powered leafblowers in fact constitute a threat to public health, and especially to workers who use them a lot.
Not only are gas leafblowers excessively loud, but their toxic emissions are also dangerous. They generate high levels of carcinogenic and smog-forming particulates, as well as stir up pollen, mold, fecal matter, heavy metals, and dust, which can linger in the air for days. These pollutants put leafblower users and nearby residents at risk for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The American Lung Association’s State of the Air report gave Rhode Island a “D” (and Providence an “F”) for air quality. It also has the fourth highest lifetime prevalence of asthma in the U.S. Given gas leafblowers’ disproportionately high toxic emissions, we must act to limit their impact on our already abysmal air quality.
Noise from gas leafblowers also has significant adverse health effects. Their typical sound levels range from 80–100 decibels (dB), well above the World Health Organization’s recommended limit of 55 dB for outdoor sound levels, and can cause hearing damage to the operators within two hours.
Besides its well-known connection to hearing loss, noise pollution also contributes to cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders, learning impairment, and poor mental health. It also makes it difficult for those nearby to enjoy time at home or outdoors.
The continued use of gas-powered leafblowers counteracts efforts to encourage healthy outdoor activity and a more sustainable future. Electric-powered leafblowers offer a more desirable alternative where brooms and rakes will not suffice. There’s no reason to clear lawns and pavement with such dirty and deafening technology when cleaner, quieter options are readily available.
It’s time for Providence / Rhode Island to join an estimated 200 communities across the U.S. that have already limited or banned the use of gas-powered leafblowers for the health and well-being of their residents and outdoor workforce.
Contact info (if sent by mail)
Please “cc” info@providencenoiseproject and forward any responses
you receive to PNP so we can track the results of our outreach efforts