Kids, Creativity and the National Radon Poster Contest

January is National Radon Action Month, or NRAM. Read more about EPA’s radon activities and what others are doing to reduce their radon exposure.

Two months ago, I helped judge the 2010 National Radon Poster Contest.

What amazed me most was the amount of creativity in the posters submitted by children, aged 9 to 14. Several times I assumed I was staring at an entry from a junior high student and it turned out to be from a fourth grader … a fourth grader! It gave me a great opportunity to appreciate children as messengers for environmental causes. The amount of poster entries this year was incredible: 216 schools in 36 states, one U.S. territory and seven tribal nations created a total of 2,862 posters!

Creators of the winning 2010 posters are being recognized today at the Indoor Air Quality Tools for School Symposium in Washington, D.C. The national first place winner is pictured in this column and you can find posters for all national, state, territorial and tribal nation winners here. Posters were judged on criteria set by the National Safety Council, Kansas State University, and Environmental Protection Agency, co-sponsors of the 2010 contest.

It’s important to get children involved early with simple messages. Some messages we stress through the Radon Poster contest are:

  • Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
  • Radon is a radioactive gas that can reach harmful levels if trapped indoors.
  • Radon comes from the soil underneath your home.
  • Radon causes lung cancer.

Simple messages to children inspire adults to take action. Our action message is clear, “Test. Fix. Save a life.” That is, test for radon in your home, school and other buildings; fix existing radon problems; and build new homes to be radon resistant.

Kansas State University’s National Radon Program will co-sponsor upcoming radon poster contests. Get involved! Promote the National Radon Poster Contest at your school. Organize a local awards ceremony to honor the winner selected by your school, community or state. Contact your state radon program to get started.

Children play key roles as messengers. They are our radon, and environmental, advocates of the future.

About the Author: Rebecca L. Reindel, MFS, is an Association of Schools of Public Health Environmental Health Fellow in the Indoor Environments Division, part of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. She is completing her Master’s Degree in Public Health at the George Washington University. She holds a Master’s in Forensic Toxicology, has previously addressed workplace exposures for taxi drivers and is an instructor at GWU.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Community Action For Radon – An Important Step For Better Indoor Air Quality

January is National Radon Action Month, or NRAM. Read more about EPA’s radon activities and what others are doing to reduce their radon exposure.

While many people have heard of radon and some even know it is a carcinogen, not enough are taking action to reduce their risk. That’s why the EPA Radon program is working with others to improve public awareness and promote action. One example is the Radon Leadership Initiative, or RLI, developed by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, with EPA support.

The RLI is designed to engage communities at the grassroots level, to demonstrate results and mobilize leaders. Communities promote radon risk reduction locally and form coalitions with states and others organizations. With EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s support for stronger focus on community initiatives, it seems like good timing to kick off another project rooted in local action.

This first year, the RLI has four communities tackling radon exposure in creative ways to increase action through awareness, testing and building new homes with radon resistant new construction, or RRNC:

  • Maine Indoor Air Quality Council: train code officials and builders in RRNC code.
  • Southern Illinois Radon Awareness Task Force: recognize homeowners with radon systems and develop participation from local health professionals.
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato: train realtors on RRNC and improve quality and marketability of RRNC homes.
  • Kentucky Association of Radon Professionals: increase awareness through social marketing and the traveling T-shirt.

You can read more about Kentucky’s RLI program here.

The RLI is part of Radon Leaders Saving Lives, a campaign bringing together government, industry, non-profits and other groups to address radon exposure in communities of all shapes and sizes. The dialog on the campaign’s Web site has been truly impressive; we’ve always known that people who work with radon are passionate, but we now have proof! Check it out. This is also where you can track the progress of the four RLI programs throughout the year.

The RLI is one more innovative way to bring the radon message closer to home for many people. I’m curious how you first learned about radon and what you are doing to promote radon action locally. Please share your experience in the comments section below.

Remember… Test. Fix. Save a life.

About the author: Rebecca L. Reindel, MFS, is an Association of Schools of Public Health Environmental Health Fellow in the Indoor Environments Division, part of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. She is completing her Master’s Degree in Public Health at the George Washington University. She holds a Master’s in Forensic Toxicology and has previously addressed workplace exposures for taxi drivers and was an instructor at GWU.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.