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April 10, 1996

Risk vs Risk: Tradeoffs in Protecting Health and the Environment

JAMA. 1996;275(14):1134-1135. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530380076042

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The somewhat catchy and promising title for this book unfortunately covers a generally simplistic and superficial series of case studies involving risks, and overall the book has little to recommend it. The positives are best found in the opening and closing sections, rather than in the case studies, which outline the basic issues of risk and alternative risks when changes are made and could serve as a useful introduction for those with little experience in these areas. There is also an extensive reference section for each chapter, which some might find useful.

The book, in fact, has many failings. It picks off easy targets but does not address some of the more clear, if complex, issues in our society, such as tobacco use. Issues worthy of review might have included local and global environmental equity, trade-offs for developing countries in establishing their own manufacturing base, and other similar issues.