Health and safety risk analyses: information for better decisions

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Science  17 Apr 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4799, pp. 291-295
DOI: 10.1126/science.3563509


Knowing the nature and magnitude of health and safety risks is helpful in setting priorities as well as in making decisions about pursuing recreational activities, foods, jobs, and other aspects of everyday living. "Risk-risk" situations require a choice among risky alternatives. "How safe" situations involve a more general choice as to how much of other desired activities to sacrifice for increased safety. "How safe" situations are inherently more difficult to manage, because they are subject to fuzzy thinking and rhetoric. The large uncertainties of current estimates must be conveyed explicitly to arrive at sensible decisions.