Healthy Babies Initiative

In partnership with Healthy Babies Bright Futures, we are working with cities to improve children’s health and reduce health disparities, specifically those that decrease neurotoxic exposures.

City leaders can dramatically impact children’s health, in particular children of color, who are most adversely impacted by these environmental harms. By addressing the social and physical determinants of health through access to healthy foods, lead abatement, and more, city leaders can play a major role in addressing these disparities.


Case Study: Salem, MA

How Salem, MA Provided Thousands of Pounds of Organic Food to Local Families

“The funding we received from HBBF and MIP allowed the City of Salem to distribute over 6,000 pounds of healthy, locally grown produce to Salem families this summer,” said Mayor Driscoll. “In addition to improving access to healthy food, it was also a tremendous community building experience.”

Recent Publications

  • Mayors Innovation Project & Healthy Babies Bright Futures. San Francisco Replaces Toxic Nap Mats for City’s Most Vulnerable Young Residents.

    In 2019, San Francisco became the first US city to ban flame retardants. Why?

    Flame retardants are chemicals applied to materials to prevent the start or slow the growth of fire. They have been included in consumer and industrial products like furniture, sleepwear,  TVs, and others since the 1970s. Due to health and environmental concerns, several US states banned flame retardants (known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs). These  chemicals stopped being made in the US between 2004 and 2013. Even though PBDEs are no longer made in the US, products made with them remain in our homes, childcare centers, schools, and workplaces.

    Exposure to flame retardants is linked to neurodevelopmental and endocrine system harm and cancer.1 Though these chemicals actually do little to slow or prevent fire, they leach into house dust, creating a major exposure route for babies and young children who spend lots of time playing on the ground and putting their hands in their mouths. To keep kids healthy, the City of  San Francisco took a hands-on approach to reducing exposure to flame retardants in childcare centers and family homes that serve San Francisco’s most vulnerable children.

  • Mayors Innovation Project & Healthy Babies Bright Futures. Scranton, PA Makes City Parks a COVID-Safe Destination.

    While schools and daycares were closed during the COVID-19 lockdown, children and their families were desperate for safe recreation options. In many cities, this meant the highest ever use of public spaces—parks, playgrounds, and pedestrian trails—which put additional pressure on city staff to maintain these spaces. City staff in Scranton, PA wanted to support families by  ensuring the safety and visibility of city playgrounds and parks. To this end, staff rolled out a new parks cleaning and sanitation process that used backpack sprayers equipped with non-toxic  sanitizer to clean park and playground equipment using grant funding from Healthy Babies Bright Futures and the Mayors Innovation Project.

  • Mayors Innovation Project & Healthy Babies Bright Futures. Norman, OK Supports Children and Families With Community Access Pop-up Spots.

    Norman, Oklahoma is home to just under 125,000 residents, as well as the state’s largest university. While the city is full of the usual campus activity, it also includes a wide range of household incomes. COVID-19 increased the number of families with diminished income. Many of these families became eligible for existing social support services, but weren’t aware of available resources. With connection to services, children and families could have additional access to healthy food (via WIC and SNAP programs) and resources to provide transportation and information about reducing neurotoxic exposures at home.


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