January 18, 2013

Annual contests promote awareness of radon health risks

SPRINGFIELD – As part of Radon Action Month during January, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL) today announced two opportunities for Illinois students to use their creativity to help increase awareness of radon’s health hazard.

High school students can compete for prizes by producing creative 60-second YouTube videos about radon for the fourth annual Illinois High School Radon Video Contest. Students ages 9-14 can use their artistic abilities to create posters depicting the radon message in the annual Illinois Radon Poster Contest.

"Students bring a fresh approach to the serious topic of radon," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "These contests help students learn more about the health risks associated with radon, and hopefully they will encourage their friends and family to test their own homes."

Videos entered in the 2013 contest can be created by an individual student, group of students or classroom. Entries must be submitted by March 4. Complete details about the video contest, including entry and release forms, are available on the ALA-IL website at www.healthhouse.org/radon/il_vidcontest.cfm.

The entries will be judged by a panel from the sponsoring agencies. Prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First place: $1,000 to the winning student or group, $300 to their school
  • Second place: $750 to the student or group, $200 to their school
  • Third place: $500 to the student or group, $100 to their school
  • Honorable mention: seven $250 prizes will be awarded.

 

The prizes are funded by a grant from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

The radon poster contest is open to students ages 9-14. Entries for the 2013 contest are due by March 1. Prizes include $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place. In addition, the top three posters will compete in the National Radon Poster Contest for a $1,000 first prize.

For more information about the poster contest, visit www.healthhouse.org/radon/il_poster.cfm.

"The number of entries has increased each year and the students provide radon messages that are outstanding,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the ALA-IL.

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. The USEPA has determined that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking. However, among non-smokers, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer. It's estimated that nearly 1,200 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur in Illinois each year.

The top videos and posters from the 2012 contests can be viewed on IEMA's radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov. The website also includes information about radon and lists of licensed measurement and mitigation professionals. Information is also available through IEMA's Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.