To provide a frame of reference for interpreting health risks from exposures to chemical and radioactive substances, it is helpful to identify the relative magnitude of risks from other sources and everyday activities.

The graphic chosen for this comparison is a thermometer ranging from certainty (1 chance in 1) to remote (1 chance in 1 million). Several categories of risk data can be identified. Categories such as Risk of Death from Accidents and Natural Disasters, and Risk of Death from Imposed, Involuntary Sources are illustrated with thermometers. To view these and other risk thermometers, click here .

Although risks taken voluntarily do not compare directly to the health risks from involuntary exposure to contaminants, having a clearer picture of the risks associated with familiar activities helps put risk into perspective.