Calls to ban common act in parks over coronavirus fears

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

The Australian Medical Association of Queensland has urged Brisbane City Council to cease using leaf blowers over concerns it could exacerbate coronavirus symptoms.

In the AMA’s recommendations to council regarding COVID-19, it suggested introducing measures to reduce air pollution and dust as it increased the chance of serious chest infections.

“Air pollution, especially small particulate matter in dust, fumes and smoke, cause airway and lung inflammation and disease,” AMAQ said.

“This enables viruses such as SARS-Co V- 2, that causes COVID-19, to produce more serious infection and death.”

The recommendations – put to Chair of the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee – asked council to ease non-essential leaf and dust blowing in parks and streets as a result.

A worker clears leaves with a leaf blower in Swadlincote, south Derbyshire during autumn.
There are concerns leaf blowers could re-expose people to coronavirus particles. Source: AAP/FILE

“Blowers resuspend small particles which remain airborne, exposing those nearby to the polluted air,” AMAQ said.

“Small particles (2.5 micron) from air pollution enter the blood stream causing cardiovascular disease including hypertension, which is associated with a much greater risk of death and serious illness with COVID-19”.

AMAQ explains there is some evidence to suggest that viral transmission may also be increased with air pollution, especially particulate matter.

“At a time of strict social measures to reduce COVID-19 viral transmission, measures that can reduce dust and other pollutants in the air which may contribute both to disease and transmission should be introduced.”

Other recommendations included reducing the use of vehicle and equipment emissions.

The AMAQ cautioned that children’s health, including brain development, was also impacted by air pollution.

“Although the individual effect may not be dramatic, air pollution impacts on everyone living in Brisbane and hence is a major public health issue.”

A Brisbane City Council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia they would continue to work towards the recommendations suggested by the AMA.

“Council will work with Queensland Health to implement any recommendations it has regarding its business operations.”

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