Risk assessment and comparisons: an introduction

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Science  17 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4799, pp. 267-270
DOI: 10.1126/science.3563505


Risk assessment is presented as a way of examining risks so that they may be better avoided, reduced, or otherwise managed. Risk implies uncertainty, so that risk assessment is largely concerned with uncertainty and hence with a concept of probability that is hard to grasp. The results of even the simplest risk assessments need to be compared with similar assessments of commonplace situations to give them some meaning. We compare and contrast some risk estimates to display their similarities and differences.