May 15, 2017
Winning entries raise awareness of radon hazards, importance of testing homes
SPRINGFIELD – Hundreds of students from across the state recently used their creative talents to increase public awareness about the health hazards of radioactive radon gas in homes. Nearly 800 posters and 141 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.
“These contests help us spread the message about radon and the importance of testing homes for this health hazard in two ways,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “First, as the students learn more about radon, they often encourage their friends and family to test their homes. The posters and videos also are great ways to help people understand the importance of testing their homes and taking steps to reduce high levels of radon if it’s detected.”
Winners in the video contest include the following:
- 1st place – Maddie Kogelis, Washington Community High School, Washington ($1,000 to winning student plus $300 for the high school)
- 2nd place – Vincent Freiburg and Joe Matheis, Rock Island High School, Rock Island ($750 prize to winning students, $200 to the high school)
- 3rd place – Phil Nasralla and Dugan Studebaker, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago ($500 prize to winning students $100 for the high school)
In addition, seven videos received honorable mention. A $250 prize will be awarded for each of the following entries:
- Jonathan Bertsche, Ryan Bertsche and Andrew DiNaso, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago
- Anders Gustafson and JohnMark Poferi, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago
- Nathanael Consoli and John Rourke, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago
- Alla Kos and Nisreen Saadeh, Ridgewood High School, Norridge
- Maurice Bass, Alexandra Grant and Asia Bulley, Camelot Excel Southwest, Chicago
- Owen Engesser and Paige Woeste, St. Charles North High School, St. Charles
- Andrew Partain, Joy Thompson, Josh Mullins and Neal Pope, Mascoutah High School, Mascoutah
Maddie Kogelis of Washington Community High School in Washington also won the competition for most views. Creators of the top 10 videos promoted viewership of their videos through social media for one week in April. Kogelis’ video took the top prize for receiving 1,538 views and receives a $300 prize.
Poster contest winners and their prizes include:
- 1st place – Brigid Zoltan, 7th grader at St. Athanasius School, Evanston, $200
- 2nd place – Mia Moore, 5th grader homeschooled, Vienna, $150
- 3rd place – Kathryn Blackburn, 8th grader at Metamora Grade School, Metamora, $100
The three winning posters will compete against posters from across the country in the 2018 National Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors.
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, and, if necessary, mitigating 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.