When the worry is focused on phantom or insignificant risks, it diverts personal attention from risks that can be reduced.[1]

Milton Russell
Former Assistant Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency and Professor of Economics at University of Tennessee

Everyone knows that if you spend all of your time on trivia and don't focus on important problems, it is completely counterproductive. If we devote too much ofour attention to traces ofpollution and away from important public health concerns ... we do not improve public health, and the important hazards are lost in the confusion.[2]

Bruce N. Ames
Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry
University of California at Berkeley

It will be very difficult to convey information to people in a meaningful fashion about low-probability risks. Perhaps the greatest danger from any risk-communication effort is that instead of informing people these programs will serve to unduly alarm them and cause overreaction.[3]

W. Kip Viscusi
George G. Allen Professor of Economics
Duke University



  1. Insight, May 23, 1988, p. 14.

  2. Bruce N. Ames, Testimony before the California Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife, October 1, 1986.

  3. ”Predicting the Effects of Food Cancer Risk Warnings on Consumers,” Food Drug Cosmetic Law Journal, Vol. 43, 1988, pp. 287-288.