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THE IMPORTANCE OF RISK COMMUNICATION
Petersen*, D. THE IMPORTANCE OF RISK COMMUNICATION. Presented at Groundwater Federation Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, 11/18/1999.
The goal of environmental and public health is to reduce the health risks associated with microbial and toxic agents in the environment, and also to agents of injury. There have generally been three approaches to managing these risks: first, control releases of the agent to the environment; second, control use of the agent; and third, control exposure to the agent. Sewage treatment systems, smokestack scrubbers and other "end-of-pipe" control systems are examples of the first approach. The second approach is usually taken by pollution prevention (P2) and "sustainability" advocates. The third approach of using physical or behavioral barriers has been traditionally taken when the first two are impractical, such as in the case of reducing the risks of skin cancer for example, where controlling the sun has proven difficult. This preentation fosters the idea that the third approach should also be applied generally to all problems of risk reduction, including those traditionally managed by the first two methods, and provides new tools for practitioners to apply to new risk management scenarios.