I. A ZAP STUDY PROPOSAL RE BLOWERS DATED 5/2/99
STUDY PROPOSAL RE BLOWERS Only Version dated 5/2/99 Purpose of Study: To determine the impact of use of leaf and debris blowers on the mental and physical health of the user, and other employees or persons working and living in the vicinity. Where noise and air pollution from Particulate Matter ("PM") is being tested, it would be advantageous to include, as well, all devices whatsoever that operate on the principle of blowing leaves, grass clippings and related debris.Study considerations:
Terms and Definitions:
Distances from the source of air pollution and noise make a difference in mental and physical health, including factors such as fatigue, psychological mood. These factors, in turn, impact thinking, communication, and therefore, performance. Depending upon what you are studying, it may be more advantageous to be nearer or farther from the source. Taking a measurement at only one given distance is not helpful. Studies should monitor impact at several distances:
Upon the Worker using the cleanup tool, anyone within 10 feet (since homes and open windows may be 5 feet from a work area), the 50 feet which has been established for noise monitoring purposes, and whatever the final distance might be before a cloud of dust might settle in a typical neighborhood on a breezy day to be at least 150 feet. Other studies show the particulate matter as measured on a city-wide basis over a period of time. We need to know how people are impacted based on Workers using blowers in specific areas at specific times and for generally the same length of time, and usually on a regular weekly schedule. In the planning stage, request opinion of the Lung Association and Asthma associations, to determine if this study might also address some of their concerns, as it is planned or with slight modifications or additional record keeping.
Studies which compare various sources of energy (gasoline, electricity, and other fuels for machines, and physical activity for machines or water, rakes and brooms) should consider noise pollution, air pollution, ground pollution, and the physical affects upon Workers of using all methods.
Time considerations should take into account all aspect of the use of blowers, as noted in page 1 "Study Considerations" #3 above.
Tools should be monitored as they are commonly used by both experienced and inexperienced Workers, since it must be assumed that recommendations from this study may be read, but not followed by all future users. The best tool for the job. Combining machine and physical activity.
Short and Long-term Health Considerations
Workers and Others
Re: Others: Fuel emissions at a 10 ft. and 50 ft. distance, from operating machines. Spillage runoff from filling a tank.
Fuel evaporation into air.
Sleep deprivation from noise specific to blowers Noise levels at 10 feet and 50 feet.
Particulate Matter height, distance, girth at 10 feet and 50 feet under various conditions, on various surfaces.
Time to settle back to earth.
Physical activity and stress of having to move to quieter, healthier location and of washing cars and housecleaning more often.
Allergy susceptibility over a period of time, as people who have no allergies develop them due to having reached their tolerance point.
Physical cumulative symptoms of allergies and asthma and need for medications based on ambient high PM. Fear and startle reactions, particularly in children and the elderly, caused by sudden loud noise.
Mental Health Considerations
Pride in work skills tied to Worker expectations, employer expectations. Stress re judgments/opinions of self and others regarding use of power tools over hand tools. Hesitation/fear of discussing with employer documented increased work-time caused by change in work tools, as it relates to increased compensation and/or decreased expectations or decreased workload.
Results of sleep deprivation on work performance, coping levels, concentration of night shift workers, those suffering from illness, mothers of infants. Mental and Physical impacts of the startle reaction. Unacceptability of odors of fumes/emissions or noise may cause lack of concentration, anger, frustration. Interrupted communications cause lack of focus.
Goals and Results:
What are the goals of employers and Workers using various methods, and what are the final results? Do the results meet not only immediate, but long term goals. A thorough study would use the above considerations to compared all leaf blowers, whatever their fuel, with all other methods of leaf and debris cleanup, i.e. vacuums, mulching mowers, rakes, brooms, water. However, a comprehensive study limited to gas and electric blowers can set benchmarks for comparison with future studies regarding traditional and combined clean up methods such as rakes, brooms and mulching mowers.