By Darlene Battle, Executive Director of Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice

Yes indeed, the mattress matters!  Infants often spend up to sixteen hours a day sleeping and need a safe place to sleep as their bodies develop and grow.  As a mother of two and grandmother of three, I know how much time babies spend in their cribs. 

I encourage you all to read this new Mattress Matters report, from Clean and Healthy New York.  

“Like most families, we all assume wrongly that the government is making sure that chemicals are safe before they end up in our consumer products.”

As director of Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice, I spend a lot of time with families who live in “hot spot” communities. “Hot spot” communities have a higher rate of exposure to toxic chemicals from the air we breathe, water we drink, playgrounds and homes.  They are often low-income and African American, and already have many environmental health threats (in addition to social and economic); adding toxic crib mattresses to the mix is simply unacceptable.

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Families in our Delaware communities don’t have time or resources to search for safe, non-toxic crib mattresses. Like most families, we all assume wrongly that the government is making sure that chemicals are safe before they end up in our consumer products.  And honestly, I did, too, before I read this report.

The report called “The Mattress Matters” is an amazing resource for families deciding on a mattress for their crib. It has simple facts and easy-to-understand visuals that will help in making decisions about how to keep your baby safe. Take a minute to read it and share it with families that are expecting a new addition to their family.

This report shows us that 25% of mattresses are made with safer materials, so we do have choices.  But the catch is many times those safer options come at a cost that is out of reach for members of our most vulnerable communities. We need to level the playing field and ensure that all Americans, regardless of race or class, have access to safe and healthy products.

“This report shows us that 25% of mattresses are made with safer materials, so we do have choices. But the catch is many times those safer options come at a cost…”

The good news is there is a better path forward.

Congress needs to pass the Safe Chemicals Act, which will put common sense limits on toxic chemicals. This bill would move us away from toxic chemicals in consumer products and towards a healthier future. There are many provisions in the bill that would protect communities like ours in Delaware.

It would help identify hot spot communities and reduce toxic chemical exposures. It would take action on the legacy chemicals and it would create a health-based safety standard for all chemicals that takes into account the real life exposures we face.

The Safe Chemicals Act is a 21st century solution to a 1970s law. At Delawareans for Social and Economic Justice, we continually encourage our US Senator, Tom Carper, to support the Safe Chemicals Act.  

I encourage you all to read this new Mattress Matters report, from Clean and Healthy New York.  

Also be sure to contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act (S.847).

All families should have access to safe and healthy products for their children.