We rarely show much interest in the basis of safety standards, although the safety of almost everything in society is built on them. The reason is simply that we assume these standards to be based on robust science. As a result, complex real-world elements have become obscured behind safety standards, and myths about safety continue to be held. We tend to regard something as perfectly safe as long as it satisfies its safety standard, and perfectly dangerous when it falls short. This attitude often results in overreactions in response to mass media reports pointing out a failure to comply with standards. Safety standards, however, are not criteria based purely on science that invariably separate safety from danger, but instead are artificial creations obliged to balance benefits and risks. Knowledge of the assumptions and processes behind the making of various safety...

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