About the Event
Do the Media Raise too Many False Alarms About Technological Risks?
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Allan Mazur, Syracuse University RFF Seminar Series
Mazur discusses the role of the media in announcing health hazards associated with new technologies. By looking at cases from the 1950s and 1960s--among them oral contraceptives, MSG, cyclamates, mercury pollution, asbestos, DDT, thalidomide, X rays, and radioactive waste storage--Mazur uses historical hindsight to identify the hallmarks of "true warnings" as opposed to "false alarms."
Does the amount of news coverage of an alleged hazard bear any relation to its actual risk? Which of the sources of media information are the most likely to announce true warnings? What clues do journalists have that an alleged hazard is really a false alarm? Mazur’s discussion is based on his new book, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971.