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The Health Benefits of switching to Electric Lawn Equipment

Americans use ~800 million gallons of gas per year mowing their lawns, producing tons of air pollutants. Lawn equipment emissions went largely unregulated until the late 1990’s. As a result, they emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, and produce up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution.

The Town of Bedford and Bedford 2030 are excited to announce a coupon program to buy back gas powered lawn equipment. The goal of the program is to address the negative health and environmental effects of combustion equipment. Gasoline-powered equipment poses significant health risks, with higher risk levels for those who operate the machinery.

We will support our community in transitioning to electric equipment by offering $100 coupons to use toward electric lawn equipment at participating retailers.  

Why switch to Electric equipment?

There are significant health benefits in switching from gas powered to electric. The EPA has shown that leaf blowers and other gas powered lawn and garden equipment expose workers and the public to high levels of toxic and carcinogenic emissions (particulates). Inhalation exposure of benzene and butadiene can cause dizziness, headaches as well as eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation. High exposures can cause damage to the nervous system.

Children in particular are more susceptible to the hazards of internal combustion engines like leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Children breathe more air per pound of body weight per day than adults and thus inhale more pollutants. The airborne particles can provoke asthma and respiratory disease. 

The noise associated with leaf blowers is also higher than World Health Organization recommended levels. Cheap or mid-range leaf blowers can expose users to up to 112 decibels (a plane taking off generates 105 decibels), potentially causing “hearing loss possible in less than [2 to] 5 minutes”. The noise can  also cause hypertension and negatively impact cognitive development of children.

Bedford’s leafblower ordinance goes into effect this year, limiting the amount of time gas powered leaf blowers can be used.  Electric lawn equipment can be used all year. This ordinance will support Bedford’s aggressive climate goals  as well as keep our community healthy. We encourage everyone to invest in electric lawn equipment for you, your neighbors, and our community.




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