Managing a Low‐Incidence Risk: The Example of Toxic Shock Syndrome

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This article demonstrates a methodology that allows individuals to reach a personal decision on the use of products which carry very small risks to health and life but also offer considerable benefits. A combination of the principles of dominance, extended dominance, and various methods of direct risk–benefit tradeoffs are shown to reduce the number of possible decisions regarding product use to the one optimal for the value structure of a particular individual. An historical examination of toxic‐shock syndrome identifies tampons as a product with risks too small to warrant public intervention but too sizeable to be ignored. The methodology described here can be applied for all such products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1985
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Toxic‐shock syndrome
  • personal value tradeoffs
  • risk–benefit analysis
  • small‐incidence risk


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