TABLE 2.

Some Factors Related to Increased or Decreased Perception of Risk

Decreases Perceived RiskIncreases Perceived Risk
Hazard factors
 FamiliarUnfamiliar
 Not catastrophicCatastrophic potential
 NaturalSynthetic
 Adults affectedFetuses or children affected
 Nondreaded effectDreaded effect (cancer, birth defects)
 VoluntaryInvoluntary
Personal factors
 Male genderFemale gender
 White raceNonwhite race
 ScientistNonscientist
 Employed by industry or governmentEmployed by academic institutions
Social and ethical factors
 Trust in the risk communicatorMistrust
 Trust in the risk imposer (polluter)Mistrust
 Equal distribution of risks and benefitsUnfair or unequal distribution of risks and benefits
 No perception of preexisting problemPerception of unfair burden of cumulative risk in the community