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Re: The Friendly Atom

On 14 Apr 98 at 15:07, Ruth Weiner wrote:

>      The
>      perspective I suggest is that a risk <0.001 is essentially
>      intuitively zero: e.g., if the weather man predicts 10% chance
>      of rain, do you think it's going to rain?  No.  If you have a
>      disease with a 95% recovery rate, do you think you are going to
>      get well?  Of course. 

Would you go shopping in an area where 1 out of 10 cars in the
parking lot were stolen?  Even though the chances are that they
would not take your car, given a choice you would probably shop 
somewhere else. Would you take a trip to a foreign land if only 95 
out of each hundred people that made the trip survived terrorist 
attacks? No, another vacation location would be selected.  Would you 
go swimming at the shore (that's what they call the beach in the 
northeast) if 1 in a 1000 (0.001) swimmers were attacked by sharks  
(that would be maybe 50 mutilated bodies per weekend along the NJ 
shore)?  I doubt it, even though the shark would probably find 
someone else more tasty. 

I suggest that the severity of the outcome affects whether a risk
of 0.1% is intuitively zero. 

Kent N. Lambert, M.S., CHP
Allegheny University of the Health Sciences
Hahnemann Division
Radiation Physics and Safety, MS 106
Broad and Vine Streets
Philadelphia, PA  19102-1192

215-762-8768 (voice)
215-762-7683 (fax)