information received from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (January 6, 2020) – According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) winter is a great time to test your home for radon. The cancer-causing gas has been found in nearly 40 percent of Illinois homes tested. IEMA is encouraging people to test for radon during Radon Action Month in January.
Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is naturally produced from the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps, or soil in crawlspaces. Statistics show radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. An estimated 1,200 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year. “Radon related health risks are preventable,” said Acting IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Radon can be detected with a simple test and mitigated through well-established techniques. With greater awareness we can save lives.”
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is announcing several initiatives this January to increase public awareness of radon risks and ways to reduce radon exposure.
Illinois Radon Poster Contest
Earlier this week, IEMA and American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) kicked off their annual statewide contest that encourages Illinois school students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness. The Illinois Radon Poster Contest is open to students ages 9-14. Entries are due by March 6. Prizes include $200 for first place, $150 for second place, and $100 for third place. For more information about the poster contest, visit www.lung.org/local-content/illinois/our-initiatives/illinois-radon-poster-contest.
Illinois Radon Video Contest
High school students can also compete for prizes by participating in the Illinois Radon Video Contest. This contest requires students to produce a creative 30-second YouTube video about radon. An individual student, group of students, or classroom can create videos. Student prizes include $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place, $500 for third place, and $250 for seven honorable mention videos. The winning video will be featured on the big screen in local movie theaters throughout the state.
Also new this year, participants can pre-register for the 2020 video contest before January 31 for a chance to win a free short-term test kit. All videos, entry forms, and release forms must be submitted by March 13. Details about the video contest are available on the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) website at www.lung.org/local-content/illinois/our-initiatives/illinois-radon-video-contest.
Most Views Contest
IEMA and ALAIL also created a contest that will reward a students’ marketing and outreach skills. The top 10 submitted videos will be provided a link to share with their friends. At the end of contest, the student with the most video views will receive an additional $300. Additionally, the schools of the top three winners will receive $300, $200, and $100 for first, second, and third places, respectively.
New this year, all students are being encouraged to share their video submission on their Twitter account using the hashtag #2020ILRadonVideoContest. The tweet(s) with the most likes and most retweets will win a brand new GoPro. The twitter contest will run March 13-March 27.
“The goal of our Radon Action Month outreach activities is to get people to test their homes. Our youth does a great job of utilizing YouTube and social media platforms in their regular lives to share important and relevant information. We want them to do the same with radon,” said Kallie Sinkus with the American Lung Association of Illinois.
All contest prizes are funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. IEMA, ALAIL and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 sponsor both contests.
For more information about radon, visit IEMA’s radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov. The website includes useful information about radon and lists of licensed measurement and mitigation professionals. Information is also available through IEMA’s Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.