THE SOCIETY for Risk Analysis defines risk analysis as “risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk management, and policy relating to risk.” The risks being assessed and considered are, in this context, risks to human health from activities and agents as diverse as bioterrorism, neglecting to use sunscreen, working at a location where soil is contaminated, eating improperly stored food, and driving while intoxicated.

Risk is a measure of the probability of harm from a given activity or agent, often calculated as the likelihood of one additional death per one million people. It is important to note that nothing is completely free of risk. The role of risk analysis is to measure and manage acceptable risks, not to eliminate harms completely.

Risk assessment is a statistical ...

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