The National Academies Press

Improving Risk Communication
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Technological risk and the process of explaining risks to the public have become major public issues. The mention of Bhopal or Love Canal can provoke emotional arguments--not only about the hazards themselves but also about how they were explained to the public. As new laws, the threat of AIDS, and other factors make risk communication more crucial, officials in government and industry are seeking guidelines on how to communicate effectively and responsibly.

This volume offers an approach to better quality in risk communication. The combined insight of experts from government, business, and universities, Improving Risk Communication draws on the most current academic and practical information and analysis. Issues addressed include why risk communication has become more difficult in recent decades, what the major problems are, and how common misconceptions often hamper communication campaigns. Aimed especially at top decisionmakers in government and industry, the book emphasizes that solving the problems of risk communication is as much about improving procedures as improving the content of risk messages.

Specific recommendations for change include a Risk Message Checklist and a call for developing a consumer's guide to risk. Appendixes provide additional details.


Publication Info

352 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-08669-1

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1989.

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