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National Radon Poster Contest Recognition Ceremony, Washington, D.C.

Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
at the
National Radon Poster Contest Recognition Ceremony
Washington, D.C.

January 14, 2003

Thank you Elizabeth (Cotsworth) for that introduction.

It = s an honor to be here today to recognize our 2002 National Radon Poster Contest winner B Adam Waldrop. I = m glad that you and your family could be with us to help kick-off National Radon Action Month.

Radon is a serious public health risk in this country, yet it is entirely preventable.

Currently, exposure to radon gas is responsible for 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year B the second leading cause of this terrible disease.

Every day more than six million families are exposed to elevated levels of radon in their homes, which is why it is so important that we raise awareness about the harmful nature of radon gas.

Reaching millions of Americans is no easy task, and we are fortunate at EPA to have such dedicated partners who have joined with us in this important effort.

Along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state and local governments, public health organizations, and citizens, we are working to educate the public about the dangers of radon gas and encourage them to have their homes tested.

In addition, EPA has provided over 10 million dollars annually to states and other organizations in support of radon gas outreach efforts.

As a result, nearly 20 million homes have been tested for radon, 700,000 homes with elevated radon levels have been fixed, and close to one million new homes have been built with radon-resistant features.

While there is much progress to celebrate, we still have a long way to go in protecting the countless families that are still at risk.

As we celebrate National Radon Action Month this January, it is the perfect time to renew our focus on this important issue and promote awareness activities. During the past two years, as part of that effort, EPA and the USDA have held a national poster contest.

Students all over the country were invited to submit their own poster design for our radon awareness campaign.

I want to thank USDA for co-sponsoring this contest, and I = d also like to thank the National Safety Council and the Conference of Radiation and Control Program Directors for their assistance and efforts in making this year= s contest such a success.

And, indeed, it has been a success, and we are very excited about the winning poster design by Adam Waldrop.

A student at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Adam is a great student with lots of creative ability.

After going through numerous panels and a long judging process, Adam = s winning design was ultimately selected to represent EPA, USDA, and our partners as we promote the message of radon awareness this year.

Adam = s poster will be distributed all around the country and his work will be an important tool in protecting the health of many Americans.

Adam, I want to thank you for helping us in this effort and at this time I = d like to ask if you can come up here and help me and Dr. Hefferan unveil your poster.

It = s also my pleasure to present this plaque to you. Thank you.