Clean air - Don't Blow It!

Don't Blow It!


Gas-powered leaf blowers are illegal in over 170 cities across the country because they are highly polluting, unhealthy and noisy.


Gas-powered leaf blowers are unhealthy for everyone, particularly children, seniors, pets, wildlife and especially the operator. They generate two very significant health hazards: toxic emissions and particulate matter. The gas leaf blower 2-stroke engines disturb neighbors and disrupt our quiet neighborhoods. For more information, please take a look at this informative website. Hydrocarbons can be carcinogens and nitrous oxides can cause acid rain. Health hazards of gas leaf blower use are documented by the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and California Air Resources Board. In addition to toxic emissions, leaf blowers blast particulate matter of fungi, pollen, spores, animal feces, pesticides, mold and more into the air. Exposure to particulate matter is an important contributing factor in hundreds of deaths in the Bay Area each year. (CAARB) Fine particulates measuring 2.5 microns and coarser materials measuring 10 microns are readily absorbed in the lungs. 2.5 microns can migrate hundreds of miles and stay in the air for days or weeks. Microns measuring 10 can travel up to 30 miles and stay aloft for hours. (USEPA)


Landscape experts advise: LEAVE THE LEAVES. Leaf blowers dry out garden soil, push mold, pollen, insect eggs, animal feces and more into the air and destroy habitats for wildlife. For more information, please read this informative article. Let your gardener know about the ordinance. Purchase an electric blower and/or batteries for your gardener, or instruct that he/she use a rake and broom.


The City of Los Altos was the first city in the Bay Area to ban gas-powered leaf blowers. In 1991 the ban was approved by a popular referendum. Fines for the use of gas-powered leaf blowers range from $100 for the first violation to $500 for a third violation. (Los Altos Municipal Code 6.16.070 – Prohibited Acts Section B.15) Talk to your neighbors if you see them or their gardeners using a gas leaf blower or leave a GreenTown “Don’t Blow It!” flyer on their doorstep. Report a violation by calling the Los Altos Police non-emergency number 947-2770 or by filing a complaint on the Los Altos Code Enforcement online complaint form.


Gas-powered leaf blowers are bad for the environment and contribute to climate change. The California Air Resources Board states that by 2020, leaf blowers and other small gas engines will create more ozone pollution than all the cars in the state. For more information, please review this report by KQED News. Carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and hydrocarbons escape in large quantities from the 2-stroke engines of gas-powered leaf blowers. Oxides and hydrocarbons contribute to smog formation.​​​​​​​ In a comparison with a Ford F-150 Raptor truck, the 2-stroke gas blower generated 23 times more carbon monoxide and nearly 300 times more non-methane hydrocarbons than the truck.
California officials said that the contamination from running a top-selling leaf blower for just one hour matches the emissions from driving a 2016 Toyota Camry for 1,100 miles, the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.