NORTH STONINGTON — How do you put a face on danger that’s invisible, silent, tasteless and odorless?
Cydney Sottile,12, and five of her seventh-grade classmates at Wheeler Middle School in North Stonington were up to the challenge and used their artistic skills to give form to harmful radon gas and to drive home the importance of home testing for the radioactive substance.
Their work was so good, the Connecticut Department of Public Health selected it for the department’s 2018 calendar promoting radon awareness.
Sottile’s work was chosen for the cover. In it, radon is shown as green floating demons, each with sharp fangs, long claws and malevolent eyes.
The radon ghouls enter a person’s mouth, nose and lungs, shown by an X-ray cross-section of a person breathing the gas.
“Radon causes lung cancer,” Cydney wrote across the poster’s top. “Get your home tested today.”
The students, who are in Rebecca Costello’s science class, submitted the artwork back in November. They got copies of the calendar featuring their entries on Friday.
“We’ve submitted work in the past, but this might be the most students from North Stonington that have ever been featured in one calendar,” Costello said.
Each poster has its own message, with facts about radon and a plea for homeowners to test for it.
“You can’t smell it, you can’t see it, you can’t taste it,” Ethan Sweet, 12, wrote on his poster for the month of September.
But Ethan used a clear illustration to depict the gas as a green mist, seeping up from the ground and house basements. He also included radon’s symbol and number in the periodic table of elements (Rn, 86).
For the month of August, Lulu Dominey, 13, depicted radon as “The Silent Assassin,” standing over the grave of a lung cancer victim.
Cienna Mastroianni, 12, showed a person and home exposed to radon and urged everyone to test their homes. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, she said.
Michelle Macina’s drawing for October was of a news program about radon.
“There is no way to know if you have radon in your home,” Macina, 13, said.
Peach Schroeder, 12, had a simple but effective message. Her entry is featured in January 2019.
“This is radon,” an arrow points to an empty white box. “It’s deadly. It’s also tasteless, colorless, odorless. Get your home tested today.”