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April 6, 2011

Teens Recognized for Winning Entries in State Radon Poster Contest
Top three posters to compete in national radon poster contest

SPRINGFIELD – Posters created by three Illinois students illustrating the hazards of radon gas in homes will soon be competing in a national radon poster contest.  The posters were among more than 300 entries in the statewide poster contest sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL), the University of Illinois Extension Office and the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

The first place winner in the statewide contest was Jacqueline Rizkallah, a 7th grader at Locke Elementary School in Chicago.  Second place was awarded to Tessa Richerson, a 7th grader at Eldorado Middle School in Eldorado, and third place went to Nayely Mendoza, a 7th grader at Locke Elementary School in Chicago.  Each of these students will receive a $100 savings bond.

“These winning posters do a great job illustrating the importance of testing homes for radon gas,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Through efforts like this contest, we’re working to increase public awareness of radon, which is the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers.”

The top three posters from Illinois will compete against posters from across the country in the 2012 National Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the National Safety Council in partnership with 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.

The winning national poster will be unveiled at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in January 2012.  The national winner, a parent and teacher will win an all-expense paid trip to participate in the ceremony.  The national winning poster will be reproduced into a nationally-distributed poster.

The three finalists in Illinois were selected from 11 top entries from four regions.  The top regional poster winners include:

Northeast region

 1st place – Jacqueline Rizkallah, 7th grade, Locke Elementary School, Chicago
 2nd place – Nayely Mendoza, 7th grade, Locke Elementary School, Chicago
 3rd place – Liliana Trifilio, 8th grade, Immaculate Conception School, Chicago

East Central region

 1st place – Stacy Boaz, 8th grade, Brownstown Junior High School, Brownstown
 2nd place – Brooke Olaivar, 7th grade, Jasper County Junior High School, Newton
 3rd place – Amber Quast, 7th grade, Jasper County Junior High School, Newton

West Central region

 1st place – Annaliese Springer, 8th grade, homeschooled, Eureka
 2nd place – Hannah Cannon, 5th grade, Manchester Variety 4-H Club, Murrayville

Southern region

 1st place – Tessa Richerson, 7th grade, Eldorado Middle School, Eldorado
 2nd place – Katrina Beaumont, 8th grade, Eldorado Middle School, Eldorado
 3rd place – Dylan Mueller, 8th grade, Nashville Middle School, Nashville

Each regional winner will receive a $50 savings bond.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive 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 National Academy of Sciences and the Surgeon General estimate that 21,000 radon-related lung cancer deaths occur annually in the United States, as many of 1,200 of those in Illinois.

The three statewide winning posters can be viewed on the IEMA Radon website at www.radon.Illinois.gov.  The website also includes comprehensive information about radon risks, lists of licensed radon measurement and mitigation contractors, home radon test results by county and more.


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