::The Crying Earth::

What have we done to the world. Look what we've done... What about all the peace. That you pledge your only son... What about all the dreams. That you said was yours and mine... Did you ever stop to notice? The crying Earth the weeping shores...

5.1.4 What is RISK?

Risk = probability of harm X probability of exposure

Assessing Risks

Relative risk and perceptions

1. De-emphasize risk of activities we enjoy

2. Understanding "chance in 100" type assessments

3. Personal experience plays a role in perceived risk

4. Ability to control our own fate is over estimated

5. News media accounts of risk are not always "real"

6. Familiarity (or lack thereof) affects perception of risk

Accepting Risks

Reaction to emotion is more persuasive than statistics: more people

willing to accept an activity (automobile driving) that is much more dangerous than nuclear energy and other high emotion, but

low risk encounters

Establishing Public Policy

-Scientific results may not provide enough information for establishing public health risks (saccharin, aspartame)

-Standard setting needs to consider:

1.Combined effects from different sources


3.Chronic and acute exposures

-Difficult to find line between repair mechanisms maintaining healthy status and risk of bodily damage

-Policy decisions need to consider ecological impacts (EPA)

According Relative Risks to human welfare

Relatively High-Risk Problems

-Habitat alteration and destruction

-Species extinction and loss of biological diversity

-Stratospheric ozone depletion

-Global climate change

Relatively Medium-Risk Problems

- Herbicides/pesticides

-Toxics and pollutants in surface waters

-Acid deposition

-Airborne toxics

Relatively Low-Risk Problems

-Oil spills

-Groundwater pollution


-Thermal pollution

Source: Data from Environmental Protection Agency


1) Health a state of physical, mental, social well-being, not just absence of disease

2) Most important health threats: pathogenic organisms (especially emergent and resistant microorganisms)

3) Stress, diet, and lifestyle: important health factors

4) Dose of toxic exposure can be difficult to equate with health risk

5) Distribution of materials in environment depend on may factors: physical, chemical, transport in and out of organisms

6) Forced to use estimators of actual risk; leads to many questions regarding health


Post a Comment

::bE wiTh uS::