SPRINGFIELD – Participants at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) Radon Networking Day today got the first peek at the top posters and videos created by Illinois students for the state’s annual radon contests. More than 40 professionals from county health departments, non-profit groups and other health organizations are participating in the one-day radon workshop in Springfield.
IEMA’s annual Radon Networking Day provides professionals from across the state with an opportunity to learn the latest developments in radon practices, health science and ‘best-practices’ for public education about the cancer-causing gas.
The contest winners were selected from nearly 160 posters and 139 one-minute YouTube videos in contests that challenged students to use their creativity to increase awareness about the hazards of radon gas. The contests were sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL).
“These contests provide an opportunity for students to learn about radon while creating posters and videos that will educate others about radon hazards,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We hope these winning entries will encourage people to test their homes for radon gas.
The winners and their prizes include:
• 1st place – Julia Tomal, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, $200
• 2nd place – Gladys Acosta, Heritage Middle School, Summit, $150
• 3rd place – Corinne Hoffman, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, $100
These three posters will compete against posters from across the country in the 2015 National Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The poster contest is designed to raise awareness about the harmful effects of elevated levels of indoor radon gas and to increase the number of homes tested for radon.
Winners in the video contest include:
• 1st place – Barrington High School, Barrington ($1,000 to winning student plus $300 for the high school)
• 2nd place – Northside College Prep High School, Chicago ($750 prize to winning student group, $200 to the high school)
• 3rd place – Marmion Academy, Aurora ($500 prize to winning student group plus $100 for the high school)
In addition, seven videos received honorable mention. A $250 prize will be awarded for each of the following entries:
• Heartland Technical Academy, Decatur
• Dunlap High School, Dunlap
• Wheaton Academy, West Chicago (two honorable mention videos)
• Glenwood High School, Chatham
• Mahomet-Seymour High School, Mahomet
• Hinsdale South High School, Darien
The prize money for all winners was provided by the ALA-IL. The winning entries are available on the IEMA Radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov and on the ALA-IL website at http://healthhouse.org/radon/il.cfm.
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. Approximately 1,200 people in Illinois die each year from radon-related lung cancer.