In areas where children play, the federal standard for lead contamination in soil is below 400 parts per million (ppm).
A vacant lot near Vance Middle School has lead soil contamination readings as high as 1760 ppm.
The Mid-South Peace & Justice center will kick off its Issues First campaign — which centers around poverty, public health, jobs, and crime and violence — today at 2 p.m. at that lot, on the corner of Cynthia and Pontotoc.
Lead poisoning causes neurological disorders and learning disabilities in children, and long-term lead exposure has been linked to criminal behavior.
"The sad fact is that a great many of our neighborhoods in lower income areas of the city have a host of environmental problems that need to be addressed," writes Brad Watkins, organizing coordinator for Mid-South Peace & Justice. "We are asking the community to join us and make a public commitment to addressing the dangerous situation of lead contamination in our community."
Several mayoral candidates are confirmed to attend.