In risk mitigation, knowledge far outperforms perception

Dear Editor:

Your recent editorial presented some interesting thoughts and perspectives on perception. You appropriately focused on the vendor/customer perspectives of perceptions in the business environment and those relationships. The new national focus on toiletries on airplanes is driven by a national and presumed rational approach to risk management, mandated for the greater good.

You suggest that only now toothpaste can terrify us. There is another perspective on toothpaste and terror, which also validates that the world is changing and that perceptions play a key role. Chemically, toothpaste is typically what it has been for years. I would suggest that you read closely the warning label on the box your toothpaste came in. While the warning represents enhanced truth-in-advertising along with pre-emptive caution fomented in part by our litigious culture, toothpaste can — and most brands do — typically carry the intrinsic dangers suggested by the warnings.

The typical American and his perception about the safety and health benefits, along with dangers and health risks, of this product genre are at odds with the reality. In reality, perception is reality only when based on knowledge, not on a false sense of security underwritten by ignorance.

The business, personal, and societal cost of health and sickness is an issue that will be of increasing interest at every level of our national conscience and dialogue. Every substance we take into our bodies, whether induced by unavoidable environmental exposure, consumed by dietary choice, or taken by pharmacological prescription (still a choice), carries benefits and or risks. At best, the positive and negative effects of these substances are perceived, not really known, by the typical consumer.

Personally, commercially, and corporately, we all are accountable and will all pay the price for this lack of knowledge. In this arena, knowledge is power to mitigate or eliminate risk and maximize benefits. Since terror is extreme fear, and fear is often driven by the unknown, we can in fact mitigate terror and our fears and our risk with a little bit (preferably a lot) of knowledge.

Mankind has long been interested in risk mitigation. In the end, choices and actions all carry consequences. This applies in our personal consumer world, in the economic business world, and in our national and international geographic-ecological-economic-political world. Choices based on knowledge will serve us far better than choices based on perceptions. You serve as a voice of conscience and education to a market-specific demographic. Continue the good work.
Glenn Dunham
IC Corp
Engineering Resource Manager

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