5 W Wednesday: Risk Bites!

© 2012 Risk Bites All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Andrew Maynard, a Charles and Rita Gelman Risk Science Professor and the Interim Chair and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health graciously answered some questions about an exciting new resource with videos on risk called Risk Bites!


“The videos are focused on the science underpinning human health risk.  Much of the content will draw on my lectures on risk assessment – covering information on how health risks are assessed, making sense of the language of risk assessment, and providing insights into how to make informed decisions on potential risks.

At the same time, they will also cover some of the more general science of understanding how stuff affects people’s health and how to reduce the impact.  So expect videos on which airborne particles are dangerous and why, whether cell phones are bad for your health, why people worry about the health effects of wind turbines, and a host of other questions that people ask about risk.  And because Risk Bites aren’t too serious, I’ll probably throw in some more quirky risk-related stuff occasionally”.


“The primary audience for Risk Bites is young people who are interested in cool and interesting snippets of information about the science of risk.  But the hope is that a much broader audience will also find these did bits of use – everyone from people grappling with understanding the relative risks and benefits of using the latest sunscreen to journalists and decision-makers in government and industry who need a fast and accessible primer on basic risk concepts.

One of the drivers here is that a new paradigm of informal education is arising within social media, and especially within the YouTube community, where people hungry for knowledge and information are turning to an alternative-culture in content generation rather than established expert sources.  Risk Bites is an experiment in exploring ways to connect this alternative culture with the establishment”.


Everyone has to grapple with risk at some point – whether it’s working out what to eat or whether to wear that particular makeup, or understanding what the information on a product label or a drug ad means, or making sense of issues that appear in the media.  Risk Bites will help viewers make sense of some of the risk stuff they are bombarded with, and help them develop a better understanding of risks and benefits.  It’ll also be a lot of fun – whether viewers are interested in risk or just interested in cool science and fun videos, there’ll be stuff here that people will enjoy watching and sharing”.

Where: Visit the Risk Bites YouTube channel to watch more videos. For more background information on the videos, check here.For now, check out this awesome video on 10 Ways Water Can Kill!

When: The site fully launches in November, going live on Tuesday, November 20th!

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