As autumn approaches, get ready for the aggravation of high-powered gas leaf blowers. The noise may be nerve-wracking, but the pollution is dangerous.

The clouds of dust whipped up to move each leaf contain valuable topsoil and disgusting pollutants. About five pounds of particulate matter per leaf blower/per hour are swept into the air and take hours to settle, so we breathe dust, fecal matter, pesticides, fungi, chemicals, fertilizers and spores, along with lead and gasoline from the streets. Exhaust pollution per gas leaf blower per hour is the equivalent of the amount of smog from 17 cars driven one hour. These toxic fumes add significantly to Aiken County’s ground level ozone pollution, or smog, which is greater than the national average, according to

Instead of outright bans, some communities prohibit leaf blowers on government property; prohibit blowing landscape debris into public roadways; prohibit operation of leaf blowers on any surface that is not stabilized (i.e., bare soil); and prohibit commercial use during certain times to reduce noise pollution in residential areas.

I believe similar, forward-thinking, sensible restrictions are in keeping with Aiken’s green image.

Jenne Stoker