CN Environmental programs sponsors radon poster contest for SHS students

BY STAFF REPORTS
12/05/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Lyndee Hammer won first place in a radon poster contest sponsored by Cherokee Nation Environmental Program staff. Hammer received a plaque from CNEP Environmental Manager Shaun West. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sequoyah High School student Elisha Bird won second place in a radon poster contest sponsored by Cherokee Nation Environmental Program staff. He received a plaque from the CNEP Environmental Program. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Sequoyah High School student Stacy Folsom-Soap won third place in a radon poster contest sponsored by Cherokee Nation Environmental Program staff. She received a plaque from CNEP Environmental Manager Shaun West. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Through a grant from the U.S. EPA Region 6, Cherokee Nation Environmental Program staff recently sponsored a radon poster contest outreach effort for Sequoyah High School students.

Students in science classes taught by teachers Becca Brant and Rhonda Doyle participated in the contest. Before the contest, CNEP staff gave a presentation on radon and its health effects and also distributed information for the students to take home. Posters and supplies were given to the students and they were given two weeks to complete the posters.

“Having kids work on this poster contest was an excellent way to increase students and parents’ knowledge of radon gas and its health effects and to make people aware of available home testing for tribal members from Cherokee Nation Environmental Programs,” said CNEP Environmental Manager Shaun West. “Also, having students talk to environmental staff can lead to increasing their interest in other environmental issues often found in their homes.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s Office estimates that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths are caused each year by radon. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon-induced lung cancer costs the United States over $2 billion dollars per year in both direct and indirect health care costs.

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. For children, radon and second-hand smoke are the biggest risks for developing lung cancer later in life. Unless a test is done with a radon test kit, you can't tell whether your home has radon because radon is a gas that has no smell, no color and can't be seen. 

According to Cherokee Nation Environmental Program testing results collected during the last 22 years, approximately 1 in 4 homes that have elevated radon levels in some counties in the Cherokee Nation. CNEP is actively performing radon outreach to reach these homeowners and offers free radon test kits to homeowners that request them.

A total of 33 students completed the poster contest and submitted their entries for review by CNEP staff. First, second and third place winners were selected and received plaques and a personalized gift. West said CNEP staff were excited to judge the posters and were amazed at the creativity of the students’ work.

“The kids had a great time doing the posters and the contest sparked conversations about radon in my classrooms, which was great” Brant said.

For more information on radon in the Cherokee Nation and how to have your home tested for free, email Shaun West or Ashley Wagnon at swest@cherokee.org or ashley-wagnon@cherokee.org or call 918-453-5009.

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