Trace A. Mounts fails to understand the difference between a risk and a hazard. Many items are hazards but not risks because we aren’t exposed to them either frequently enough or at concentrations high enough to pose a risk. Briefly, asteroids are hazards because they can be deadly, but they aren’t a risk because we seldom encounter them: we usually go about our days without worrying about “death by asteroid”. Formaldehyde is also a hazard: we know that it can be harmful. However, we do not consider pears to be risky despite the fact that they have formaldehyde because the amount in the pears is so low that it is considered to be safe. In the next episode, Episode 7: Trace A. Mounts Meets the Risk Revelation Ray, Alison helps put trace amounts of hazards into context.
Learn more about risk and hazards in our multi-part series on this topic.
Trace A. Mounts considers many items around us to be extremely dangerous. Of course, our aim should always be to create products that are safer for us and our environment, but this does not mean that the items we have are harmful. To read more, please explore the following posts from SciMoms and other sources:
- The relative safety of sunscreen – By SciMom Dr. Alison Bernstein
- The relative safety of vaccines
- Pesticide residues on food