Huntington CALM (Clean Alternative Landscaping Methods) provides education and outreach on the health and environmental impacts associated with highly polluting, noisy landscape equipment. Our mission is to move the commercial landscape industry to zero emission, quiet, sustainable practices, starting with the elimination of the highly polluting two-stroke engine gas leaf blower. We offer positive solutions that protect the health of families, workers, and our environment.
UPDATE: The town supervisor of Huntington NY, Chad Lupinacci, has asked that “residents and landscapers refrain from gas-powered and other types of leaf blower use during the Coronavirus pandemic.“
Statement from Huntington CALM on the public health risks of gas-powered leaf blowers (GLBs) during the COVID-19 pandemic while people are sheltering in place:
- Landscapers may be putting themselves and other people at risk. These machines expose the public, including our children and pets, to unnecessary and preventable health risks. The pollutants from leaf blowers include ozone-forming chemicals, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). The adverse effects of PM2.5 and ozone are well known: cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, and neurological and developmental/ reproductive disorders.
- A recent Harvard study found that long-term exposure to the type of pollution that GLBs cause may significantly raise the risk of death from COVID-19. These researchers found that a one-mcg increase in concentration of fine particulates was associated with a 15% increase in risk of COVID-19 related death. Even short-term elevations in particulate matter have been linked to acute respiratory infections, asthma, other lung diseases, myocardial infarctions, CHF, and overall mortality. (Indeed, the possibility of COVID-19 spread by PM (fine and coarse) has been raised in another recent study.)
- Noise of the magnitude that these blowers produce has been linked to a stress response that also impacts our health adversely. While we shelter in place, the American Psychological Association and other public health organizations recognize that “Spending days or weeks at home with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll on mental health.” Now more than ever, it’s important that we work together as a community to recognize and respect each other’s boundaries and safe spaces.