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The Intersection

[Health] Don’t let the bedbugs bite

Where are all the unhealthy mattresses?

Damon Hodge

Blood and urine stains. Live bedbugs. Mattresses stuffed with drug paraphernalia. Nasty stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Now if Southern Nevada Health District investigators found these nasty remnants on used mattresses and upholstered furniture in hotels, motels, boarding houses and other sleep-related facilities in the Valley—as they did during investigations last year—wouldn’t you want to know the offenders’ names?

Save for the three most egregious violators, the district has kept the names a secret.

Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore defends the move. “The purpose wasn’t to be punitive,” she says. The investigations prompted a slew of measures that await approval from the Nevada State Board of Health.

Outed were three companies that received cease-and-desist orders. As a result, Dream Mattress forfeited its licenses and Good Night Mattress, at 4955 Steptoe St., Suite 800, and Silver Mattress, at 4995 Steptoe St., Suite 300, now only build new mattresses.

Sizemore says naming names wasn’t the goal: “We didn’t want to be adversarial. The purpose wasn’t to penalize the companies. We want them to work with the district on being more sanitary.”

Fair enough.

But isn’t a public health entity’s allegiance to its constituents, not to commerce?

If there’s any time it can justify adversarial dealings, it’s in matters of protecting public health, right?

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