There is no more/less risk in article exchange than there is in link exchange, in my opinion. To me, it is the same as having an RSS feed or distributing a press release. I don't have any experience with article exchange, however, so I don't really know that I am qualified to answer the question.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the question but when you syndicate an article by yourself or through an article distribution website you want others to use your article. You give them a page of content in exchange for a link back to your website.