top of page
1 Gas Powered Leaf Blowers Harm Birds.jpg


  • Gas leaf blowers are used all over Winchester. Are they really that polluting?
    Yes they are extremely polluting. GLBs use two-stroke engines, an extremely dirty technology that burns oil mixed with gas. They produce large amounts of small-particulate emissions, nitrous oxides, and dangerous volatile organic compounds, including carcinogens such as benzene. Numerous studies show that GLBs are thousands of times more polluting than automobiles. For example this fact sheet from the California Air Resources Board notes that operating a single GLB for just one hour produces emissions comparable to driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles, roughly the distance from Boston to Atlanta. When you apply that math to Winchester – we estimate that using a gas leaf blowers in your yard for one hour is equal to 66 round-trip trips to Boston in a passenger car. Think about 66 round-trips worth of pollution being released into your yard and air in one hour.
  • But gas leaf blowers are used near Winchester schools and senior centers, and I see the workers using them for hours right outside my window. Surely they are safe?
    No. Gas Leaf blowers are not safe. The noise produced by GLBs is highly disruptive and stressful for Winchester residents and it is dangerous for workers. The National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health recommends limiting exposure to 100 dBA (the noise at the ear from a single GLB) to 15 minutes per day to avoid permanent hearing loss. We all see landscape workers in Winchester exposed to this noise for many hours each day. As noted above, the air pollution produced by GLBs contains numerous toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, that pose a serious risk to the health of workers.
  • Are electric leaf blowers much less noisy than GLBs?
    Far less noisy. The dreaded growl you hear carrying from the West Side over the Winchester Flats and up to East Hill is because two-stroke gas-leaf blowers emit low-frequency noise. Not only is the low-frequency noise of the two-stroke gas powered engine loud, it is also proven to travel further and penetrates walls...that's why we hear this equipment being used several blocks away. And that’s why some Winchester residents have resorted to purchasing noise-cancelling headphones to wear in their own homes. You could use four ELBs on your property and create just half the noise generated by a single GLB. This is because a single commercial-grade GLB emits roughly 77 dBA (decibels) at 50 feet and roughly 100 dBA at the ear of the operator. Not only is 77 dBA roughly 13 times typical ambient noise level... but OSHA recommends limiting exposure to 100 dBA to only 15 minutes per day to avoid permanent hearing loss. And, because GLBs emit substantial low-frequency noise, their noise carries much farther and penetrates walls much more than the noise from ELBs. Some homeowners -- from other towns -- who have hired firms using electric equipment report that they are not always aware that their landscapers are working on their property. In other words: A crew using four ELBs creates just half the noise generated by a single GLB.
  • But we’ve always had our leaves cleaned up this way.
    Not before the ‘80s. Portable gas leaf blowers gained in popularity in the 80s. For those who grew up in Winchester prior to the mid-80s, this would be returning Winchester to the peace and quiet of the old days.
  • I don’t want to go back to the old days and I don’t have time to do my own leaves.
    The transition to electric land care brings back the peace and quiet of our town, while adopting cleaner technology that allows us to save time and preserve the natural beauty and environment of Winchester for our children.
bottom of page