Hundreds of students from across the state recently used their creative talents to increase public awareness about the hazards of radioactive radon gas in homes. More than 500 posters and 65 one-minute YouTube videos were submitted to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL) for consideration in the annual contests.
Levi Moore, a Vienna homeschooled student, won $200 for his poster that took first place statewide.
The top three winning posters will compete against posters from across the country in the 2017 National Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors.
“Contest participants took a critical message about the serious health hazards of radon and presented it in creative ways that will grab the public’s attention,” said IEMA director James K. Joseph. “These posters and videos are great tools to help people understand why it’s so important to test their homes and take steps to reduce high levels of radon if it’s detected.”
The prize money for all winners was provided by the ALA-IL.
“It is estimated that approximately 21,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are caused by radon- induced lung cancer,” said Angela Tin, vice president of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and can be prevented by simply testing your home.”
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally- occurring uranium in the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawlspaces. Approximately 1,200 people in Illinois die each year from radon-related lung cancer.