Issues First Campaign Begins Today

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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 —┬átoday 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.

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