Posted: 2001
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Article SummaryThis manual on how to use risk comparisons and risk statistics was commissioned to help chemical plant managers explain air emissions to their neighbors. Chapter III on risk comparisons, especially, is still relevant. Later research hasn’t borne out all its seat-of-the-pants conclusions, but the advice at the end of the chapter about the worst risk comparisons holds firm – in my terms these comparisons fail (especially when people are outraged) because they try to compare the hazard of high-outrage and low-outrage risks. The other chapters are also useful and not really outdated, I think. The appendices are both outdated and all too likely to be misused. They’re what the client originally wanted most. Vincent Covello, Paul Slovic, and I wrote the rest of the manual to soften them.

Risk Communication, Risk Statistics,
and Risk Comparisons:
A Manual for Plant Managers

Washington, DC: Chemical Manufacturers Association, 1988

Selected Bibliography
on Risk Communication

Bean, M. (1987), “Tools for Environmental Professionals Involved in Risk Communication at Hazardous Waste Facilities Undergoing Siting, Permitting, or Remediation.” Report No. 8730.8. Reston, Virginia: Air Pollution Control Association.

Covello, V. T. (1983), “The Perception of Technological Risks: A Literature Review.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 23, 1983, 285–297.

Covello, V.T. (1988), “Informing the Public About Health and Environmental Risks: Problems and Opportunities for Effective Risk Communication,” in N. Lind (ed.), Risk Communication: A Symposium, Waterloo: University of Waterloo.

Covello, V. and F. Allen (1988), Seven Cardinal Rules of Risk Communication, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy Analysis.

Covello, V., D. von Winterfeldt, and P. Slovic (1987), “Communicating Risk Information to the Public,” in J.C. Davies, V. Covello, and F. Allen, eds., Risk Communication, Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation.

Covello, V., D. McCallum, and M. Pavlova, eds. (1988), Effective Risk Communication: The Role and Responsibility of Government. New York: Plenum.

Davies, J.C., V.T. Covello, and F.W. Allen, eds. (1987), Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation.

Fessenden-Raden, J., J. Fitchen, and J. Heath (1987), “Risk Communication at the Local Level: A Complex Interactive Process,” Science, Technology and Human Values, December, 1987.

Fischhoff, B. (1985), “Protocols for Environmental Reporting: What to Ask the Experts.” The Journalist, Winter, 1985, pp.11–15.

Fischhoff, B., S. Lichtenstein, P. Slovic, S.L. Derby and R.L. Keeney (1981), Acceptable Risk. Cambridge University Press: New York.

Fischhoff, B. (1985), “Managing Risk Perception.” Issues in Science and Technology, 2, 1985, 83–96.

Fischhoff, B., P. Slovic, and S. Lichtenstein (1979), “Weighing the Risks,” Environment, 21, 1979.

Hance, B., C. Chess, and P. Sandman (1987), Improving Dialogue with Communities: A Risk Communication Manual for Government. Trenton, New Jersey, Office of Science and Research, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, December, 1987.

Johnson, B. and V. Covello, eds. (1987), The Social and Cultural Construction of Risk: Essays on Risk Selection and Perception. Boston: Reidel.

Kahneman, D., P. Slovic, and A. Tversky, eds. (1982), Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Kasperson, R. (1986), “Six Propositions on Public Participation and Their Relevance to Risk Communication.” Risk Analysis, 1986, 6, 275–282.

Kasperson, R. and J. Kasperson (1983), “Determining the Acceptability of Risk: Ethical and Policy Issues,” in J. Rogers and D. Bates (eds.), Risk: A Symposium, Ottawa: The Royal Society of Canada, 1983.

Klaidman, S. (1985), “Health Risk Reporting,” Washington, D.C.: Institute for Health Policy Analysis, Georgetown University.

Mazur, A. (1981), “Media Coverage and Public Opinion on Scientific Controversies,” Journal of Communication, pp. 106–115.

Nelkin, D. (1984), Science in the Streets. New York: Twentieth Century Fund.

President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island (1979), Report of the Public’s Right to Information Task Force. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ruckelshaus, W.D. (1983), “Science, Risk, and Public Policy,” Science, 221: 1026–1028.

Ruckelshaus, W.D. (1984), “Risk in a Free Society,” Risk Analysis, September 1984, pp. 157–163.

Ruckelshaus, W. D. (1987), “Communicating About Risk,” pp. 3–9 in J.C. Davies, V.T. Covello, and F.W. Allen (eds.). Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1987.

Press, F. (1987), “Science and Risk Communication,” pp. 11–17 in J.C. Davies, V.T. Covello, and F.W. Allen (eds.). Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1987.

Sandman, P.M. (1986), “Getting to Maybe: Some Communications Aspects of Hazardous Waste Facility Siting,” Seton Hall Legislative Journal, Spring 1986.

Sandman, P.M. (1986), Explaining Environmental Risk. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Toxic Substances.

Sandman, P., D. Sachsman, M. Greenberg, and M. Gochfeld (1987), Environmental Risk and the Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books.

Sandman, P., D. Sachsman, and M. Greenberg (1987), Risk Communication for Environmental News Sources. Industry/University Cooperative Center for Research in Hazardous and Toxic Substances: New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Sharlin, H. (1987), “EDB: A Case Study in the Communication of Health Risk,” in B. Johnson and V. Covello (eds.), The Social and Cultural Construction of Risk: Essays on Risk Selection and Perception, Boston: Reidel.

Slovic, P. (1986), “Informing and Educating the Public About Risk.” Risk Analysis, vol.4:403–415.

Slovic, P. (1987), “Perception of Risk,” Science 236: 280–285.

Slovic, P., B. Fischhoff, and S. Lichtenstein (1982), “Facts Versus Fears: Understanding Perceived Risk,” in D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky (eds.), Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Slovic, P., and B. Fischhoff (1982), “How Safe is Safe Enough? Determinants of Perceived and Acceptable Risk.” In L. Gould and C. Walker (eds.), Too Hot to Handle, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982.

Thomas, L. M. (1987), “Why We Must Talk About Risk,” pp. 19–25 in J.C. Davies, V.T. Covello, and F.W. Allen (eds.). Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1987.

Wilson, R. and E. Crouch (1987), “Risk Assessment and Comparisons: An Introduction.” Science, Vol. 236 (17 April 1987): 267–270.

Note: The views expressed in this manual are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of their organizations.

Copyright © 1988 by Chemical Manufacturers Association

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