Small Engines are Big Polluters By Tom Husnik

cleanairgardening_2052_117749099Most people do not associate air pollution with mowing the lawn. Yet emissions from lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, leaf vacuums, and similar outdoor power equipment are a significant source of pollution. Today’s small engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. They also emit hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, pollutants that contribute to the formation of ozone. While ozone occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere and shields the earth from harmful radiation, ozone at ground level is a noxious pollutant.

Ground-level ozone impairs lung function, inhibits plant growth, and is a key ingredient of smog.

Emission control for small gasoline engines has not been a crucial design consideration until now. Consequently, small engines are big polluters. And power equipment users inadvertently contribute to the problem by carelessly handling fuel and by improperly maintaining their equipment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the power equipment industry are working to investigate and bring to market cleaner technology for small engines.

EPA anticipates that regulations now being developed will bring cleaner lawn and garden equipment to market within a few years. Meanwhile, consumers can make a difference by adopting practices that will help protect the environment now and in the future.

Ask your dealer about the new, cleaner gasoline equipment entering the marketplace. Propane and solar options are also available for some types of equipment. Electric equipment is cleaner than equipment powered by gasoline engines. Electrically-powered lawn and garden tools produce essentially no pollution from exhaust emissions or through fuel evaporation. However, generating the power to run electric equipment does produce pollution.Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

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