By Jim Donovan

Bu Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The hum of leaf blowers will be a familiar sound this weekend with many people cleaning up the last batch of leaves on their property.   But the noise isn’t what’s concerning some people, it’s a potential health hazard. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter  Jim Donovan has that story.

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Leaf blowers clear dust, debris, leaves, and even snow quickly and efficiently. But at what price? Some health experts are sounding the alarm. “We’re concerned about the health implications,” says Dr. Adrienne Weiss-Harrison, with the American Lung Association.  She points to studies showing that gas powered leaf blowers spread dangerous pollutants including carbon monoxide as well as stir up irritating allergens like mold and spores.  According to Weiss-Harrison,  “Although they’re small devices, there are so many operating that they have a large impact.”

In fact the car experts at found that gas-powered consumer-grade leaf blowers emit more pollutants than this Ford F-150 Raptor.

Some cities have banned or restricted them. like Montclair New Jersey where Fred Chichester and Pat Kenschaft live.  Chichester says, “I’d like to see a total ban of leaf blowers.”   They helped pass the law, which prohibits people from using leaf blowers in warmer months when the heat compounds the negative effects.

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Many gas-powered leaf blowers are made with what’s called a two stroke engine. But many gas powered chain saws, lawnmowers and snow blowers have them too and there’s no movement to ban all of these machines.

Jody Shilan is the executive director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association.  While he recognizes the concerns, he believes leaf blowers provide a big benefit.  He says, “It’s so much more efficient than using a rake.”  He’s concerned that banning gas-powered leaf blowers could end up hitting homeowners in the wallet.  He says, “It’s going to raise the cost significantly for homeowners that do have landscape contractors to take care of their property.”

The E.P.A. regulates leaf blowers and says that they must be manufactured to meet federal emissions standards.  Using an electric or even battery-operated blower will reduce pollution, but you’ll still have some noise pollution.

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