Date of Original Version



Book Chapter

Rights Management

Abstract or Description

There are two conceivable legitimate purposes for risk comparisons. Readers who consult the risk communication literature will find that serving either purpose requires both formal analysis to ensure that defensible comparisons are being made and dedicated empirical research to ensure that the result is understood as intended. Readers of that literature will also find that poorly done risk comparisons can confuse, mislead, and antagonize recipients. Unless done in a scientifically sound way, risk comparisons are unlikely to be useful and relevant and hence should be avoided.


Appears in Scientific Reviews of the Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin from the Office of Management and Budget (pp.37-8). Washington, DC: National Academies Press