Newsroom > DHHS News Release

December 8, 2010

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047,

Student Posters Highlight Radon Risks

Lincoln–The Radon Program of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced the winners of its annual radon poster contest for students ages 9 to 14.

Sophie Joy Mellema, a student at Axtell Community School, was awarded first place with her poster, “You only have 1 life, don't let radon take it.” Runners-up were Abby Allen, a student at Columbus Scotus Central Catholic Junior High School, and Bria Bergstrom, also a student at Axtell Community School. The winning poster and three runners-up can be viewed at:  

The statewide contest was held to highlight the risks posed by exposure to indoor radon. The winning posters were entered into the 2011 National Radon Poster Contest. Winners of the National Poster Contest will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the national award ceremony in January 2011.

Radon gas is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil, and water. The colorless and odorless gas enters buildings through cracks or holes in the foundation, which it can then accumulate indoors to levels that put people at risk for lung cancer.

Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year are radon-related.
While only a small percentage of Nebraska homes have been tested, more than half of the radon tests conducted in Nebraska are elevated. Inexpensive do-it-yourself radon test kits are available, and there are also ways to successfully reduce high levels of radon in homes.

To learn more about the annual radon poster contest or for more information about radon, visit or contact the Nebraska Radon Program at 402-471-6354.