“Now, what does this look like in the real world? BPA is a great example.”
Read more in Scientific American.
A better definition: risk is the expected value of a negative consequence. Ropeik’s article omits any quantitative measure of the consequence and concentrates only on probability of occurrence. A more useful formulation defines risk as the product of the probability of occurrence and the quantitative estimate of the negative consequence.
I agree that often the subjective estimate of risk puts too heavy an emphasis on the emotional response to a hazard. But, there are also many situations in which emotional responses actually contribute to losses; e.g., widespread emotional responses to the events of 9-11 contributed to secondary economic losses ; or the chilling effect that emotional response to the idea of increased use of nuclear power has on our further development and deployment of this technology.
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