When making health decisions, we often hear the words “hazard” and “risk” interchanged. Though related, these words have very different meanings.
Hazard is the potential to cause harm. Lots of things can be hazardous (sharks, skydiving, moldy bread). But things get a bit murkier when talking about risk. That’s because in order for a hazard to become a risk, there has to be some sort of exposure to the hazard (swim in the ocean, jump out of plane, eat some moldy bread). Risk has to do with the likelihood or probability of a harmful outcome actually occurring. And lots of things – especially the amount of exposure – can effect the likelihood of a harm occurring.
Want to learn more? Geek out on the science of risk with this video from Risk Bites.