American Lung Association statement on Colorado action on gas-powered lawn & garden equipment

New regulation aims to increase use of electric equipment to improve air quality and public health 

Today, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted measures to reduce air pollution from gas-powered lawn and garden equipment. These devices, while relatively small, produce an enormous amount of air pollution. Running a standard leaf blower for one hour generates the approximate emissions equivalent of driving from Denver to Los Angeles. 

Regulation 29 introduces new limitations on the use of handheld gas-powered equipment like leaf blowers and trimmers by government entities. Beginning in 2025, state government properties statewide and local government entities in Colorado’s ozone nonattainment area will be restricted from using handheld gas-powered lawn and garden equipment during high ozone months of June, July, and August. 

The AQCC failed to adopt two additional proposals as part of this new regulation. One proposal would have extended the rule to commercial operators in the ozone non-attainment area. Another would have started to phase-out consumer sales of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment in favor of electric equipment in the ozone nonattainment area. 

This rule comes at the same time the AQCC took action on the State Implementation Plan as part of critical efforts to meet federal clean air standards, which Colorado has failed to reach for over a decade. 

Nick Torres, Advocacy Director of the American Lung Association in Colorado issued the following statement after the vote:  

“It was encouraging to see that the AQCC recognizes that gas-powered lawn and garden equipment is a significant source of air pollution. But we were disappointed that the AQCC stopped short of taking more decisive steps to reduce pollution from the commercial landscaping sector and phase-in zero-emission equipment for consumers, leaving many health benefits on the table. There is still so much work to do to ensure that all Coloradans have healthy air to breathe, especially the millions of people who live in the state’s ozone non-attainment area and anyone living with lung disease.” 

C. Allen Wentworth, local American Lung Association board member and Registered Respiratory Therapist, provided the following statement: 

“For many Coloradans like me, who struggle with asthma and other chronic lung disease, lawn equipment can be a huge asthma trigger. Adopting stronger protections will help the State meet its air quality and climate standards, while helping protect lung health for lawncare workers and vulnerable populations.” 

Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment emit toxic air contaminants, fine particle pollution, Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and other smog-forming pollutants. The human health impacts of these pollutants are well-documented: breathing problems, asthma attacks and other lung health issues, cardiovascular issues, and even premature deaths. 

The American Lung Association supports the widespread and rapid transition to zero-emission technologies as vital to improving lung health and saving lives. The American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air 2023 report noted that Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs all ranked among the nation’s 25-worst cities for ozone pollution.  

For more information, contact:

Katie Geraghty
[email protected]

Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 07, 2024
Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 15, 2024