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Leaf Blower Resolution

You may not be aware, but the Board of Health has not only considered the issue of a summertime leaf blower ban before, but at the request of an advocacy group, Citizens Against Leaf-Blower Mania (CALM), conducted an extensive review of literature submitted and discussed several letters that were written for Board consideration.  As in the past, the Board believes that conclusive, well-grounded scientific data providing medical evidence of human health risks caused specifically by leaf blowers would need to be indicated for Board action.  As a point of information, the Board instituted the current restrictions of leaf blowers in the Noise Ordinance in 1994 and 1996, respectively, as a result of determining that only potential health impacts were possible when leaf blowers and other gasoline-powered equipment were in use.

Because of the procedure for the Board of Health to pass an ordinance (it becomes law in three days and no other approvals are necessary, including by the RTM) the Board of Health’s review of any submitted data is critical in determining health risks to the population.  This data would need to indicate a direct cause and effect relationship and explain why human health risks are only a concern during some months and not the rest of the year.  After a thorough review of the information submitted by CALM on several occasions and discussion by the full Board of Health, the Resolution below was unanimously approved by the Board at its June 27, 2011 meeting and reaffirmed by the Board on January 26, 2012.

Alternatively, you should be aware that the Town may take action to completely stop the use of leaf blowers during the year on the basis to achieve a better quality of life for Town residents.  The Selectmen have recently formed a committee which is chaired by Selectman Drew Marzullo to review the merits of instituting a ban through a proposed ordinance for the Representative Town Meeting to adopt.  Although, there are no leaf blower bans in any town in Connecticut, all of the ordinances/regulations in New York and other states where leaf blower bans were proposed and passed, were done so on the premise of a quality of life issue by Town Councils, Boards of Trustees, etc.; not local health boards.

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS,  the Leaf Blower Research Sub-Committee of the Board has extensively reviewed literature and studies concerning the effects of gasoline-powered leaf blowers on health, including all documents and letters submitted by proponents of a summertime ban of gasoline-powered leaf blowers, as well as documents from its own independent research;

WHEREAS, the Sub-Committee concluded that the leaf blower was similar in many ways to other gasoline-powered equipment currently regulated by the Town’s Noise Ordinance and that there is no conclusive, well grounded scientific data providing medical evidence of health risks associated specifically to leaf blower use; and

WHEREAS, it is the unanimous recommendation of the Sub-Committee to the full Board that no changes be made to the Town’s existing Noise Ordinance;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that:

1. There is no substantial evidence documenting scientific and medically-grounded data tied to health risks caused by gasoline-powered leaf blowers that warrants banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers seasonally or otherwise; and further resolved that

2. No changes to the Town’s existing Noise Ordinance with respect to gasoline-powered leaf blowers are warranted at this time for health reasons; and further resolved that

3. Whether to ban gasoline-powered leaf blowers is a quality of life issue and not a health issue.

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FIRST SELECTMAN:
 
Peter Tesei
Peter Tesei
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