Nothing in life is safe. People assess risks and make decisions about them constantly - travel, eating, sport and health care. Because our senses let us down and our sources of information are frequently unreliable, many of us simply react in a state of alarm to newspaper and television reports. Many of us ask our doctors for guidance. Accurate perception of risk is critically important in our world today. Different human values influence perceptions of risk but individuals and communities must agree on the criteria to be used in measuring risk. We should aim to manage risk so that we achieve the maximum benefit with the minimum of ill effects. The BMA has produced this book of facts about risk because risk touches every single aspect of health and welfare. The book is packed with information, arguments and examples. It concentrates on risk to the individual, on major hazards which affect us all, as well as a wide range of lesser risks of particular public concern or personal importance. As well as being a fascinating discourse on risk incidence, the book constitutes a very powerful message in health promotion which will guarantee its place on the bookshelf of every doctor and health care professional, and bring it to the forefront of public attention and interest.