Jackson joins Providence, Rhode Island and Tempe, Arizona in Bright Cities Program
(JACKSON, Miss.) – The City of Jackson is proud to become one of the newest member-cities to partner with Healthy Babies Bright Futures as part of its nationwide Healthy Cities program. Jackson joins Tempe, Arizona and Providence, Rhode Island as the latest cities to commit to using customized, strategic efforts to eliminate toxic chemical exposures to babies and children.
“As a city that focuses part of its strategic platform on the health and safety of every citizen, we have to recognize that Mississippi has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation. And so, as a city that looks to make radical change to address the concerns that we have, we must recognize that our most precious resource is our children. We will do all that we can to protect them,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jackson, Providence, and Tempe to our family of Bright Cities,” said Heidi Gerbracht, Bright Cities Program Director. “Each of these cities have shown us that they are both dedicated and strategic in their existing efforts. We look forward to supporting additional action to protect the health of their youngest residents—babies and children.”
Designed by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, the Bright Cities program will partner with our local nonprofits and the Jackson city government to reduce our community’s exposure to neurotoxic chemicals that interfere with our children’s ability to learn and thrive. The program is designed to lower the levels of these chemicals in air, water, food, soil and everyday consumer products.
For children, lower exposures mean lower incidences of neurodevelopmental disorders. Scientific evidence links exposures to toxic chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, learning disabilities, attention deficits, behavior problems, hyperactivity and decreased IQ.
“Our program harnesses the existing powers of these local entities and works hand-in-hand with them to take a range of actions to limit exposures to these chemicals,” explains Gerbracht.
Existing cities in the program have implemented a variety of actions to decrease toxic chemical exposures. These actions include replacing toxic nap mats and providing HEPA air filters in child cares, addressing lead in homes, improving water quality, increasing access to healthier foods, providing public education about neurotoxic chemicals; and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke, among others. The Bright Cities program provides tailored support from HBBF, including a small grant.