Nov. 2 2018 06:00 AM

Wall Street Journal op-ed piece calls leaf blowers “loud, ugly and dangerous.”

An op-ed piece published Oct. 18 in The Wall Street Journal titled “Leaf Blowers are Loud, Ugly and Dangerous,” has drawn criticism from landscape industry stakeholders. They disagree with author Adrienne Bernhard, who attacked leaf blowers for several reasons, including their fumes, pollution and noise.

One of those critics is Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Alexandria, Virginia. He issued a letter to the editor of WSJ in response to the article.

In it, he suggests that Bernhard’s ideas are based off outdated data, since her statistics are from study published in 2011. Since then, these products have become “regulated by the federal government and the state of California, and they are the cleanest and quietest they’ve ever been — 75 percent quieter than those used a decade ago, with emissions reduced by as much as 80 percent.”

Kiser writes that leaf blowers are widely used by landscapers and consumers alike, primarily because they save considerable time and labor clearing large areas and that they save water by helping clean surfaces without using water from a hose. Leaf blowers also help people with physical limitations, Kiser says, using the example of his own 85-year-old mother, who uses her electric leaf blower to clear her steps and walkway of debris and leaves.

Bernhard’s most outlandish suggestion, according to Kiser, is to get rid of “leafy trees and green lawns” altogether, to which Kiser responds that “green spaces are not just something pretty to look at.” He questions how this suggestion promotes sustainability since trees and turfgrass “are brilliant at sequestering carbon, producing oxygen, capturing and filtering precious rainfall, collecting dust and particulate matter and reducing heat.”

Kiser’s full letter can be found here.