Nevada students are encouraged to exhibit their artistic skills and promote radon awareness by entering the Nevada Radon Poster Contest, with all entries due by Oct. 31.

The contest is sponsored by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. It is open to all youth ages 9 to 14 years old registered at public, private, territorial, tribal, Department of Defense and home schools. Children can also enter through a sponsoring group, such as art, computer, library, reading, science, scouting, youth or 4-H clubs.

Radon is a radioactive, colorless, naturally occurring, odorless and tasteless gas that comes from the decay of uranium. It collects in homes, and living in elevated levels of the gas can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. This risk is avoidable through testing for the gas and reducing the level of the gas in a home if needed. The only way to know if a home has elevated levels is to test for it.

The Nevada Radon Poster Contest is offering cash prizes for the top three entries: $75 for first, $60 for second, and $45 for third place. The best three entries also win cash prizes for their teachers or sponsoring organization’s representative toward classroom supplies. In addition, the first-place recipient’s poster is entered into the National Radon Poster Contest, which also offers cash prizes. There is no fee to enter the Nevada contest, but each child is limited to one entry. Entries must be received at 4955 Energy Way, Reno, NV, 89502-4105, by Oct. 31.

Posters should communicate one of the following messages: 1) What is radon? 2) Where does radon come from? 3) How does radon get into our homes? 4) Radon can cause lung cancer, and 5) Test your home for radon. Posters will be judged on content accuracy, visual communication of the topic, reproducibility and originality. They can be created with crayon, markers, paint, collage, pencil, photographs or computer graphics.

The Nevada Radon Poster Contest is part of Cooperative Extension’s work to increase awareness of the dangers of having elevated levels of radon in the home. Extension also offers educational presentations and low-cost radon test kits. Since 2008, more than 28,000 homes in Nevada have been tested for the radioactive gas. Of 23,039 valid test results collected, 6,012 have had elevated radon concentrations. Once radon is detected, there are fairly simple, inexpensive ways to reduce radon exposure and reduce the risk of lung cancer.

For more information on the dangers of radon and the Nevada Radon Education Program, visit www.RadonNV.com or call the Radon Hotline at 1-888-Radon10 (888-723-6610). Contact Nadia Noel, radon education coordinator for Cooperative Extension, at 775-336-0252 or noeln@unce.unr.edu for more information on the Radon Poster Contest.