“According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1997), as people across the United States re-fuel their leaf
blowers and lawnmowers, they slop approximately 17 million gallons of gasoline onto the ground each summer, gas that seeps into the water we drink and evaporates into the air we breathe. To put that number in perspective, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 dumped 10.9 million gallons of Prudhoe Bay crude into Prince William Sound, Alaska (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1989).
“On top of that, leaf blowers discharge a cocktail of contaminants into the air, from hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide*which combine with other greenhouse gases to form ozone*to the carcinogens benzene, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (2000, 50, 3) estimates that the average commercial, gas-powered leaf blower manufactured in 1999 emits the same amount of hydrocarbons in one-half hour as a car traveling 7,700 miles at 30 miles per hour. Over that half hour, the same leaf blower pumps out as much carbon monoxide as a car driving 440 miles at 30 miles per hour.
“An inconvenient truth about leaf blowers is that it is not uncommon for people who use them to relocate leaves, dirt, and weeds into their neighbor’s yard or out onto the street for the city or municipality to deal with rather than
collecting, bagging, and disposing of the leaves themselves. This is not only an antisocial manifestation of out-of-sight-out-of-mind mental processes, but also an unequivocal passing of the social buck that relates to what social psychologists have called ‘‘diffusion of responsibility.’’ [That’s putting it mildly.] [I’d call it ‘I-don’t-give-a- FUCK-about-you-ness.’ Or ‘ME-ME-ME-ness.’] [Or ‘I’m-too-stupid-to-understand-the-long-term-consequences-of-my-behavior-ness.’]
from “The Leaf Blower, Capitalism, and the Atomization of Everyday Life,” Jules Boykoff
And they’re not cheaper to use than a rake, nor does it get the job done faster. So WTF? Men and noise? Men and power tools?