Thirty-five per cent of Europeans believe that “ordinary tomatoes do not contain genes while genetically modified tomatoes do”. At the same time the number of concerned parents who decide not to vaccinate their children with MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine grows every year, while the cases of measles in EU have quadrupled since 2009 to actual epidemic proportions.

People are becoming increasingly averse and concerned about technological risks, despite the growing amount of available research and information. The public turns to the Internet - by 2012 on-line sources have become the most popular place to look for risk information. Blogs, on-line versions of newspapers, forums and social media are typical sources of risk information sharing. Growing risk concerns have both a direct and an indirect impact on risk regulations. The authorities have to find a delicate balance between meeting public expectations and the need to keep the European economy healthy and competitive. One of the repercussions is that we might end up regulating risks that are feared the most rather than those that are objectively the greatest.

In her presentation Dr. Hunka will discuss different formats of risk messages and how they can influence our understanding of risk. Using an example of an actual controversial story (genetically modified food linked to cancer) and its press coverage she will show how our understanding of risk and scientific studies can be shaped by the popular press.


Dr. Agnieszka Hunka (UT) holds a PhD in social environmental science, earned from Radboud University Nijmegen in April 2010. She also has a Master degree in landscape architecture (MSc Eng, 2004) and in social psychology (MSc, 2002). Between 2010-2013 she was a Marie Curie grant Postdoctoral Fellow at Roskilde University in Denmark. The project brought together a large network of academics, regulatory agencies and industry representatives working on environmental risk assessment. Currently she works as a coordinator of the 3TU Ethics & Technology Centre. She is an active member of the Society of Ecotoxicology-and-Chemistry (SETAC) and a co-founder of the SETAC Risk Communication Advisory Group.


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Filosofie & Techniek

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Nadere informatie bij Henk Uijttenhout (vz), tel.: 070 - 3875293 / 06 - 26715554 of via onderstaand e-mailadres.

Publicatielijst Agnieszka Hunka