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SPRINGFIELD -- Outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner proclaimed January "Radon Awareness Month" in Illinois to increase awareness about the presence of radon.

According to a press release, radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is recognized as the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It’s estimated nearly 1,200 people in Illinois develop radon-related lung cancer each year.

“Radon related health risks are preventable,” said Rauner. “Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established techniques. With greater awareness we can save lives.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) are joining forces in January to increase public awareness of radon risks and ways to reduce radon exposure. IEMA and ALAIL announced today the continuation of statewide contest that encourages students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness. Starting today, the American Lung Association will begin accepting submissions for the annual radon poster and video contests.

The Illinois Radon Poster Contest is open to students ages 9-14. Entries are due by March 1. Prizes include $200 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place. For more information about the poster contest, visit https://www.lung.org/local-content/illinois/documents/2019-illinois-radon-poster.pdf.

High school students can also compete for prizes by participating in the Illinois Radon Video Contest. This contest requires for students to produce a creative 30-second YouTube video about radon. The video submission deadline is March 8. Videos can be created by an individual student, group of students or classroom. Student prizes include $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place, $500 for third place and $250 for seven honorable mention videos. New this year, the winning video may appear on the big screen in local movie theaters across the state.

The top 10 videos will also be entered into a ‘most views’ contest to develop students’ marketing and outreach skills. Winners will be provided a link to share with their friends. The video with the most 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.

All videos, entry forms and release forms must be submitted by March 8. Details about the video contest are available on the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALAIL) website at https://www.lung.org/local-content/illinois/documents/2019-illinois-radon-video-official-rules.pdf.

All contest prizes are funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Both contests are sponsored by IEMA, ALAIL and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5.

The top posters and videos from the 2018 contests can be viewed on IEMA’s radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov. The website also includes information about radon and lists of licensed measurement and mitigation professionals. Information is also available through IEMA’s Radon Hotline at 800-325-1245.

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