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Special Issue "Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental justice; environmental health; environmental hazards/disasters; social vulnerability; racial/ethnic disparities; GIScience, spatial analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Sara E. Grineski

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental health disparities; environmental justice; Hispanic health; children’s health
Guest Editor
Dr. Timothy W. Collins

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental hazards/disasters; social vulnerability; environmental justice; Hispanic health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental Justice (EJ) research seeks to document and address the disproportionate environmental health and risk burdens associated with multiple dimensions of social inequality. Although its initial focus was on anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded to encompass other issues, such as resource depletion, energy use, consumption patterns, food systems, climate change, and government policies, which adversely affect the environment and health of particular social groups. Dimensions of social inequality examined have expanded beyond race and socioeconomic status to include ethnicity, immigration status, gender, and age. In a context of intensifying social inequalities, there is a growing need to further strengthen the EJ research framework and continue diversifying its themes.

This Special Issue provides a forum for conceptual, methodological, and empirical scholarship on EJ. We welcome original research articles, literature reviews, critical evaluations of methodologies, and discussions of future research needs that focus on any aspect of EJ. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following issues: anthropogenic hazards (e.g., air pollution); natural disasters (e.g., flooding); environmental health outcomes (e.g., cancer, respiratory illnesses); environmental amenities (e.g., parks, greenspace); environmental policies; climate change; food and agriculture; mining and resource extraction; water pollution and scarcity; and transportation.

Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty
Dr. Sara E. Grineski
Dr. Timothy W. Collins
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • environmental justice
  • environmental health justice
  • climate justice
  • food justice
  • air pollution
  • natural hazards
  • green space
  • mining
  • water pollution
  • spatial analysis

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Environmental Justice Research: Contemporary Issues and Emerging Topics
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1072; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111072
Received: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 29 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
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Abstract
Environmental justice (EJ) research seeks to document and redress the disproportionate environmental burdens and benefits associated with social inequalities. Although its initial focus was on disparities in exposure to anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded. In the context of intensifying
[...] Read more.
Environmental justice (EJ) research seeks to document and redress the disproportionate environmental burdens and benefits associated with social inequalities. Although its initial focus was on disparities in exposure to anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded. In the context of intensifying social inequalities and environmental problems, there is a need to further strengthen the EJ research framework and diversify its application. This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) incorporates 19 articles that broaden EJ research by considering emerging topics such as energy, food, drinking water, flooding, sustainability, and gender dynamics, including issues in Canada, the UK, and Eastern Europe. Additionally, the articles contribute to three research themes: (1) documenting connections between unjust environmental exposures and health impacts by examining unsafe infrastructure, substance use, and children’s obesity and academic performance; (2) promoting and achieving EJ by implementing interventions to improve environmental knowledge and health, identifying avenues for sustainable community change, and incorporating EJ metrics in government programs; and (3) clarifying stakeholder perceptions of EJ issues to extend research beyond the documentation of unjust conditions and processes. Collectively, the articles highlight potentially compounding injustices and an array of approaches being employed to achieve EJ. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Two Mechanisms: The Role of Social Capital and Industrial Pollution Exposure in Explaining Racial Disparities in Self-Rated Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 1025; doi:10.3390/ijerph13101025
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 28 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 19 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (489 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study provides an empirical test of two mechanisms (social capital and exposure to air pollution) that are theorized to mediate the effect of neighborhood on health and contribute to racial disparities in health outcomes. To this end, we utilize the Social Capital
[...] Read more.
This study provides an empirical test of two mechanisms (social capital and exposure to air pollution) that are theorized to mediate the effect of neighborhood on health and contribute to racial disparities in health outcomes. To this end, we utilize the Social Capital Benchmark Study, a national survey of individuals nested within communities in the United States, to estimate how multiple dimensions of social capital and exposure to air pollution, explain racial disparities in self-rated health. Our main findings show that when controlling for individual-confounders, and nesting within communities, our indicator of cognitive bridging, generalized trust, decreases the gap in self-rated health between African Americans and Whites by 84%, and the gap between Hispanics and Whites by 54%. Our other indicator of cognitive social capital, cognitive linking as represented by engagement in politics, decreases the gap in health between Hispanics and Whites by 32%, but has little impact on African Americans. We also assessed whether the gap in health was explained by respondents’ estimated exposure to toxicity-weighted air pollutants from large industrial facilities over the previous year. Our results show that accounting for exposure to these toxins has no effect on the racial gap in self-rated health in these data. This paper contributes to the neighborhood effects literature by examining the impact that estimated annual industrial air pollution, and multiple measures of social capital, have on explaining the racial gap in health in a sample of individuals nested within communities across the United States. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Bread and Roses: A Gender Perspective on Environmental Justice and Public Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 1005; doi:10.3390/ijerph13101005
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 20 September 2016 / Accepted: 26 September 2016 / Published: 12 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (317 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gender continues to be a relatively marginal issue in environmental justice debates and yet it remains an important aspect of injustice. To help redress the balance, this article explores women’s experience of environmental justice through a review of the existing literature and the
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Gender continues to be a relatively marginal issue in environmental justice debates and yet it remains an important aspect of injustice. To help redress the balance, this article explores women’s experience of environmental justice through a review of the existing literature and the author’s prior qualitative research, as well as her experience of environmental activism. The analysis confirms that women tend to experience inequitable environmental burdens (distributional injustice); and are less likely than men to have control over environmental decisions (procedural injustice), both of which impact on their health (substantive injustice). It is argued that these injustices occur because women generally have lower incomes than men and are perceived as having less social status than their male counterparts as a result of entwined and entrenched capitalist and patriarchal processes. In the light of this analysis, it is proposed that environmental justice research, teaching, policy and practice should be made more gender aware and feminist orientated. This could support cross-cutting debates and activities in support of the radical social change necessary to bring about greater social and environmental justice more generally. Full article
Open AccessArticle Community Theories of Change: Linking Environmental Justice to Sustainability through Stakeholder Perceptions in Milwaukee (WI, USA)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 979; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100979
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 26 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental justice and sustainability are compatible lenses, yet action toward equity is often missing from urban sustainability initiatives. This study aims to assess the cohesion of these frameworks in practice. To do this, we parse individuals’ theories of change, or how they identify
[...] Read more.
Environmental justice and sustainability are compatible lenses, yet action toward equity is often missing from urban sustainability initiatives. This study aims to assess the cohesion of these frameworks in practice. To do this, we parse individuals’ theories of change, or how they identify and propose to resolve environmental injustices in the pursuit of sustainability. We posit that these theories of change are comprised of three main components: (1) perceived environmental benefits and burdens; (2) the causal pathways of environmental and social injustice; and (3) visions for positive change. Drawing from 35 stakeholder interviews in Milwaukee (WI, USA) we examine individual and institutional perspectives on environmental and social change and their links to the production of injustice. Our findings reveal that participants do not distinguish between environmental and social injustices. Instead, both social and environmental factors are implicated in injustice. Furthermore, we identify two mental maps for how social and economic change reproduce injustice. These findings suggest the need to reorient how urban injustice is considered and make efforts to acknowledge how a diversity of operational theories of change could either be divisive or could bring environmental justice and sustainability initiatives together. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Case Study of Environmental Injustice: The Failure in Flint
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 951; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100951
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 22 September 2016 / Published: 27 September 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The failure by the city of Flint, Michigan to properly treat its municipal water system after a change in the source of water, has resulted in elevated lead levels in the city’s water and an increase in city children’s blood lead levels. Lead
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The failure by the city of Flint, Michigan to properly treat its municipal water system after a change in the source of water, has resulted in elevated lead levels in the city’s water and an increase in city children’s blood lead levels. Lead exposure in young children can lead to decrements in intelligence, development, behavior, attention and other neurological functions. This lack of ability to provide safe drinking water represents a failure to protect the public’s health at various governmental levels. This article describes how the tragedy happened, how low-income and minority populations are at particularly high risk for lead exposure and environmental injustice, and ways that we can move forward to prevent childhood lead exposure and lead poisoning, as well as prevent future Flint-like exposure events from occurring. Control of the manufacture and use of toxic chemicals to prevent adverse exposure to these substances is also discussed. Environmental injustice occurred throughout the Flint water contamination incident and there are lessons we can all learn from this debacle to move forward in promoting environmental justice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Empowering Energy Justice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 926; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090926
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 19 August 2016 / Accepted: 26 August 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The U.S. is experiencing unprecedented movement away from coal and, to a lesser degree, oil. Burdened low-income communities and people of color could experience health benefits from reductions in air and water pollution, yet these same groups could suffer harm if transitions lack
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The U.S. is experiencing unprecedented movement away from coal and, to a lesser degree, oil. Burdened low-income communities and people of color could experience health benefits from reductions in air and water pollution, yet these same groups could suffer harm if transitions lack broad public input or if policies prioritize elite or corporate interests. This paper highlights how U.S. energy transitions build from, and contribute to, environmental injustices. Energy justice requires not only ending disproportionate harm, it also entails involvement in the design of solutions and fair distribution of benefits, such as green jobs and clean air. To what extent does the confluence of state, civic, and market processes assure “just” transitions to clean, low-carbon energy production involving equitable distribution of costs, benefits, and decision-making power? To explore this question we assess trends with (1) fossil fuel divestment; (2) carbon taxes and social cost of carbon measurements; (3) cap-and-trade; (4) renewable energy; and (5) energy efficiency. Current research demonstrates opportunities and pitfalls in each area with mixed or partial energy justice consequences, leading to our call for greater attention to the specifics of distributive justice, procedural justice, and recognition justice in research, policy, and action. Illustrative energy transition case studies suggest the feasibility and benefit of empowering approaches, but also indicate there can be conflict between “green” and “just”, as evident though stark inequities in clean energy initiatives. To identify positive pathways forward, we compile priorities for an energy justice research agenda based on interactive and participatory practices aligning advocacy, activism, and academics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of a Home-Based Environmental and Educational Intervention to Improve Health in Vulnerable Households: Southeastern Pennsylvania Lead and Healthy Homes Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 900; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090900
Received: 30 April 2016 / Revised: 10 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 9 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1047 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This evaluation examined whether participation in a home-based environmental educational intervention would reduce exposure to health and safety hazards and asthma-related medical visits. The home intervention program focused on vulnerable, low-income households, where children had asthma, were at risk for lead poisoning, or
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This evaluation examined whether participation in a home-based environmental educational intervention would reduce exposure to health and safety hazards and asthma-related medical visits. The home intervention program focused on vulnerable, low-income households, where children had asthma, were at risk for lead poisoning, or faced multiple unsafe housing conditions. Home visitors conducted two home visits, two months apart, consisting of an environmental home assessment, Healthy Homes education, and distribution of Healthy Homes supplies. Measured outcomes included changes in participant knowledge and awareness of environmental home-based hazards, rate of children’s asthma-related medical use, and the presence of asthma triggers and safety hazards. Analysis of 2013–2014 baseline and post-intervention program data for a cohort of 150 families revealed a significantly lower three-month rate (p < 0.05) of children’s asthma-related doctor visits and hospital admissions at program completion. In addition, there were significantly reduced reports of the presence of home-based hazards, including basement or roof leaks (p = 0.011), plumbing leaks (p = 0.019), and use of an oven to heat the home (p < 0.001). Participants’ pre- and post- test scores showed significant improvement (p < 0.05) in knowledge and awareness of home hazards. Comprehensive home interventions may effectively reduce environmental home hazards and improve the health of asthmatic children in the short term. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ambient Concentrations of Metabolic Disrupting Chemicals and Children’s Academic Achievement in El Paso, Texas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 874; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090874
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 24 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Concerns about children’s weight have steadily risen alongside the manufacture and use of myriad chemicals in the US. One class of chemicals, known as metabolic disruptors, interfere with human endocrine and metabolic functioning and are of specific concern to children’s health and development.
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Concerns about children’s weight have steadily risen alongside the manufacture and use of myriad chemicals in the US. One class of chemicals, known as metabolic disruptors, interfere with human endocrine and metabolic functioning and are of specific concern to children’s health and development. This article examines the effect of residential concentrations of metabolic disrupting chemicals on children’s school performance for the first time. Census tract-level ambient concentrations for known metabolic disruptors come from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Air Toxics Assessment. Other measures were drawn from a survey of primary caretakers of 4th and 5th grade children in El Paso Independent School District (El Paso, TX, USA). A mediation model is employed to examine two hypothetical pathways through which the ambient level of metabolic disruptors at a child’s home might affect grade point average. Results indicate that concentrations of metabolic disruptors are statistically significantly associated with lower grade point averages directly and indirectly through body mass index. Findings from this study have practical implications for environmental justice research and chemical policy reform in the US. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mapping the Racial Inequality in Place: Using Youth Perceptions to Identify Unequal Exposure to Neighborhood Environmental Hazards
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 844; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090844
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 10 August 2016 / Accepted: 17 August 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6123 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Black youth are more likely than white youth to grow up in poor, segregated neighborhoods. This racial inequality in the neighborhood environments of black youth increases their contact with hazardous neighborhood environmental features including violence and toxic exposures that contribute to racial inequality
[...] Read more.
Black youth are more likely than white youth to grow up in poor, segregated neighborhoods. This racial inequality in the neighborhood environments of black youth increases their contact with hazardous neighborhood environmental features including violence and toxic exposures that contribute to racial inequality in youth health and well-being. While the concept of neighborhood effects has been studied at length by social scientists, this work has not been as frequently situated within an environmental justice (EJ) paradigm. The present study used youth perceptions gained from in-depth interviews with youth from one Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood to identify neighborhood environmental health hazards. We then mapped these youth-identified features to examine how they are spatially and racially distributed across the city. Our results suggest that the intersection of race and poverty, neighborhood disorder, housing abandonment, and crime were salient issues for youth. The maps show support for the youths’ assertions that the environments of black and white individuals across the city of Pittsburgh differ in noteworthy ways. This multi-lens, mixed-method analysis was designed to challenge some of the assumptions we make about addressing environmental inequality using youths’ own opinions on the issue to drive our inquiry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Pigs in Space: Determining the Environmental Justice Landscape of Swine Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Iowa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 849; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090849
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Given the primacy of Iowa in pork production for the U.S. and global markets, we sought to understand if the same relationship with traditional environmental justice (EJ) variables such as low income and minority populations observed in other concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)
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Given the primacy of Iowa in pork production for the U.S. and global markets, we sought to understand if the same relationship with traditional environmental justice (EJ) variables such as low income and minority populations observed in other concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) studies exists in the relationship with swine CAFO densities in Iowa. We examined the potential for spatial clustering of swine CAFOs in certain parts of the state and used spatial regression techniques to determine the relationships of high swine concentrations to these EJ variables. We found that while swine CAFOs do cluster in certain regions and watersheds of Iowa, these high densities of swine are not associated with traditional EJ populations of low income and minority race/ethnicity. Instead, the potential for environmental injustice in the negative impacts of intensive swine production require a more complex appraisal. The clustering of swine production in watersheds, the presence of antibiotics used in swine production in public waterways, the clustering of manure spills, and other findings suggest that a more literal and figurative “downstream” approach is necessary. We document the presence and location of antibiotics used in animal production in the public waterways of the state. At the same time, we suggest a more “upstream” understanding of the structural, political and economic factors that create an environmentally unjust landscape of swine production in Iowa and the Upper Midwest is also crucial. Finally, we highlight the important role of publicly accessible and high quality data in the analysis of these upstream and downstream EJ questions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exposure to Flood Hazards in Miami and Houston: Are Hispanic Immigrants at Greater Risk than Other Social Groups?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 775; doi:10.3390/ijerph13080775
Received: 30 June 2016 / Accepted: 27 July 2016 / Published: 1 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2942 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although numerous studies have been conducted on the vulnerability of marginalized groups in the environmental justice (EJ) and hazards fields, analysts have tended to lump people together in broad racial/ethnic categories without regard for substantial within-group heterogeneity. This paper addresses that limitation by
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Although numerous studies have been conducted on the vulnerability of marginalized groups in the environmental justice (EJ) and hazards fields, analysts have tended to lump people together in broad racial/ethnic categories without regard for substantial within-group heterogeneity. This paper addresses that limitation by examining whether Hispanic immigrants are disproportionately exposed to risks from flood hazards relative to other racial/ethnic groups (including US-born Hispanics), adjusting for relevant covariates. Survey data were collected for 1283 adult householders in the Houston and Miami Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and flood risk was estimated using their residential presence/absence within federally-designated 100-year flood zones. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) with binary logistic specifications that adjust for county-level clustering were used to analyze (separately) and compare the Houston (N = 546) and Miami (N = 560) MSAs in order to clarify determinants of household exposure to flood risk. GEE results in Houston indicate that Hispanic immigrants have the greatest likelihood, and non-Hispanic Whites the least likelihood, of residing in a 100-year flood zone. Miami GEE results contrastingly reveal that non-Hispanic Whites have a significantly greater likelihood of residing in a flood zone when compared to Hispanic immigrants. These divergent results suggest that human-flood hazard relationships have been structured differently between the two MSAs, possibly due to the contrasting role that water-based amenities have played in urbanization within the two study areas. Future EJ research and practice should differentiate between Hispanic subgroups based on nativity status and attend to contextual factors influencing environmental risk disparities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Emerging Environmental Justice Issues in Nuclear Power and Radioactive Contamination
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 700; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070700
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 28 June 2016 / Accepted: 6 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (480 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nuclear hazards, linked to both U.S. weapons programs and civilian nuclear power, pose substantial environment justice issues. Nuclear power plant (NPP) reactors produce low-level ionizing radiation, high level nuclear waste, and are subject to catastrophic contamination events. Justice concerns include plant locations and
[...] Read more.
Nuclear hazards, linked to both U.S. weapons programs and civilian nuclear power, pose substantial environment justice issues. Nuclear power plant (NPP) reactors produce low-level ionizing radiation, high level nuclear waste, and are subject to catastrophic contamination events. Justice concerns include plant locations and the large potentially exposed populations, as well as issues in siting, nuclear safety, and barriers to public participation. Other justice issues relate to extensive contamination in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and the mining and processing industries that have supported it. To approach the topic, first we discuss distributional justice issues of NPP sites in the U.S. and related procedural injustices in siting, operation, and emergency preparedness. Then we discuss justice concerns involving the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and the ways that uranium mining, processing, and weapons development have affected those living downwind, including a substantial American Indian population. Next we examine the problem of high-level nuclear waste and the risk implications of the lack of secure long-term storage. The handling and deposition of toxic nuclear wastes pose new transgenerational justice issues of unprecedented duration, in comparison to any other industry. Finally, we discuss the persistent risks of nuclear technologies and renewable energy alternatives. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving Environmental Health Literacy and Justice through Environmental Exposure Results Communication
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 690; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070690
Received: 1 May 2016 / Revised: 18 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 8 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1654 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Understanding the short- and long-term impacts of a biomonitoring and exposure project and reporting personal results back to study participants is critical for guiding future efforts, especially in the context of environmental justice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate learning outcomes
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Understanding the short- and long-term impacts of a biomonitoring and exposure project and reporting personal results back to study participants is critical for guiding future efforts, especially in the context of environmental justice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate learning outcomes from environmental communication efforts and whether environmental health literacy goals were met in an environmental justice community. We conducted 14 interviews with parents who had participated in the University of Arizona’s Metals Exposure Study in Homes and analyzed their responses using NVivo, a qualitative data management and analysis program. Key findings were that participants used the data to cope with their challenging circumstances, the majority of participants described changing their families’ household behaviors, and participants reported specific interventions to reduce family exposures. The strength of this study is that it provides insight into what people learn and gain from such results communication efforts, what participants want to know, and what type of additional information participants need to advance their environmental health literacy. This information can help improve future report back efforts and advance environmental health and justice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ontario’s Experience of Wind Energy Development as Seen through the Lens of Human Health and Environmental Justice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 684; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070684
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 6 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The province of Ontario has shown great commitment towards the development of renewable energy and, specifically, wind power. Fuelled by the Green Energy Act (GEA) of 2009, the Province has emerged as Canada’s leader in wind energy development (WED). Nonetheless, Ontario’s WED trajectory
[...] Read more.
The province of Ontario has shown great commitment towards the development of renewable energy and, specifically, wind power. Fuelled by the Green Energy Act (GEA) of 2009, the Province has emerged as Canada’s leader in wind energy development (WED). Nonetheless, Ontario’s WED trajectory is characterized by social conflicts, particularly around environmental health. Utilizing the Social Amplification of Risk Framework, this paper presents an eight-year longitudinal media content analysis conducted to understand the role Ontario’s media may be playing in both reflecting and shaping public perceptions of wind turbine health risks. We find that before and after the GEA, instances of health risk amplification were far greater than attenuations in both quantity and quality. Discourses that amplified turbine health risks often simultaneously highlighted injustices in the WED process, especially after the GEA. Based on these findings, we suggest that Ontario’s media may be amplifying perceptions of wind turbine health risks within the public domain. We conclude with policy recommendations around public engagement for more just WED. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Equity through Negotiation: A Case Study on Urban Landfills and the Roma Community
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 591; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060591
Received: 20 March 2016 / Revised: 31 May 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 14 June 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1089 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper discusses the necessity to bring environmental equity within the Pata Rât Roma community in Northwest Romania, relying on the answers to three questions: “Does environmental equity exist in Pata Rât?”, “How can it be attained?”, and “To what extent can it
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The paper discusses the necessity to bring environmental equity within the Pata Rât Roma community in Northwest Romania, relying on the answers to three questions: “Does environmental equity exist in Pata Rât?”, “How can it be attained?”, and “To what extent can it be brought to the targeted people?” It was shown how a trio of factors tailors the destiny of Roma inhabitants: being a minority, their ethnicity, and the fact they are living on and off what society rejects and dumps—a landfill. The framing of the environmental equity concerns within a vision considering negotiation as the most adequate means to attain it is a novel approach. Further on, the results of the study can fuel win-win solutions in environmental equity. The information abstracted from a set of indicators, assessed through an evaluation matrix, represents a beneficial platform for future bottom-up decisions concerning landfill residents. Three action options were analyzed: on-site living opportunities—that resulted to be preferred, off-site living opportunities, and “Do nothing”. The analysis provides qualitative evidence that the evaluation of environmental equity is largely subjective, because of its complexity and specificity related to geographical, historical, cultural characteristics, and political interests. Full article
Open AccessArticle Boiling over: A Descriptive Analysis of Drinking Water Advisories in First Nations Communities in Ontario, Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(5), 505; doi:10.3390/ijerph13050505
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 20 April 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (624 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Access to safe and reliable drinking water is commonplace for most Canadians. However, the right to safe and reliable drinking water is denied to many First Nations peoples across the country, highlighting a priority public health and environmental justice issue in Canada. This
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Access to safe and reliable drinking water is commonplace for most Canadians. However, the right to safe and reliable drinking water is denied to many First Nations peoples across the country, highlighting a priority public health and environmental justice issue in Canada. This paper describes trends and characteristics of drinking water advisories, used as a proxy for reliable access to safe drinking water, among First Nations communities in the province of Ontario. Visual and statistical tools were used to summarize the advisory data in general, temporal trends, and characteristics of the drinking water systems in which advisories were issued. Overall, 402 advisories were issued during the study period. The number of advisories increased from 25 in 2004 to 75 in 2013. The average advisory duration was 294 days. Most advisories were reported in summer months and equipment malfunction was the most commonly reported reason for issuing an advisory. Nearly half of all advisories occurred in drinking water systems where additional operator training was needed. These findings underscore that the prevalence of drinking water advisories in First Nations communities is a problem that must be addressed. Concerted and multi-faceted efforts are called for to improve the provision of safe and reliable drinking water First Nations communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Unequal Recovery? Federal Resource Distribution after a Midwest Flood Disaster
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(5), 507; doi:10.3390/ijerph13050507
Received: 17 March 2016 / Revised: 5 May 2016 / Accepted: 9 May 2016 / Published: 17 May 2016
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Abstract
Following severe flooding in 2008, three Iowa communities acquired over 1000 damaged properties to support disaster recovery and mitigation. This research applies a distributive justice framework to analyze the distribution of disaster recovery funds for property acquisition. Two research questions drive the analysis:
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Following severe flooding in 2008, three Iowa communities acquired over 1000 damaged properties to support disaster recovery and mitigation. This research applies a distributive justice framework to analyze the distribution of disaster recovery funds for property acquisition. Two research questions drive the analysis: (1) how does recovery vary by acquisition funding source; and (2) what is the relationship between recovery and vulnerable populations? Through spatial econometric modeling, relative recovery is compared between two federal programs that funded the acquisitions, and across socially vulnerable populations. The results indicate both distributive and temporal inequalities in the allocation of federal recovery funds. In particular, Latino and elderly populations were associated with lower recovery rates. Recommendations for future research in flood recovery and acquisitions are provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Advancing Sustainability through Urban Green Space: Cultural Ecosystem Services, Equity, and Social Determinants of Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 196; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020196
Received: 23 September 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 2 February 2016 / Published: 5 February 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (310 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban green spaces provide an array of benefits, or ecosystem services, that support our physical, psychological, and social health. In many cases, however, these benefits are not equitably distributed across diverse urban populations. In this paper, we explore relationships between cultural ecosystem services
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Urban green spaces provide an array of benefits, or ecosystem services, that support our physical, psychological, and social health. In many cases, however, these benefits are not equitably distributed across diverse urban populations. In this paper, we explore relationships between cultural ecosystem services provided by urban green space and the social determinants of health outlined in the United States Healthy People 2020 initiative. Specifically, we: (1) explore connections between cultural ecosystem services and social determinants of health; (2) examine cultural ecosystem services as nature-based health amenities to promote social equity; and (3) recommend areas for future research examining links between urban green space and public health within the context of environmental justice. Full article

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Open AccessReview Incorporating Environmental Justice into Second Generation Indices of Multiple Deprivation: Lessons from the UK and Progress Internationally
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 750; doi:10.3390/ijerph13080750
Received: 28 April 2016 / Revised: 3 June 2016 / Accepted: 8 June 2016 / Published: 26 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (284 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Second generation area-based indices of multiple deprivation have been extensively used in the UK over the last 15 years. They resulted from significant developments in political, technical, and conceptual spheres for deprivation data. We review the parallel development of environmental justice research and
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Second generation area-based indices of multiple deprivation have been extensively used in the UK over the last 15 years. They resulted from significant developments in political, technical, and conceptual spheres for deprivation data. We review the parallel development of environmental justice research and how and when environmental data was incorporated into these indices. We explain the transfer of these methods from the UK to Germany and assess the progress internationally in developing such indices. Finally, we illustrate how billions of pounds in the UK was allocated by using these tools to tackle neighbourhood deprivation and environmental justice to address the determinants of health. Full article
Open AccessReview Risky Substance Use Environments and Addiction: A New Frontier for Environmental Justice Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 607; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060607
Received: 11 May 2016 / Revised: 7 June 2016 / Accepted: 15 June 2016 / Published: 18 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (303 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Substance use disorders are widely recognized as one of the most pressing global public health problems, and recent research indicates that environmental factors, including access and exposure to substances of abuse, neighborhood disadvantage and disorder, and environmental barriers to treatment, influence substance use
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Substance use disorders are widely recognized as one of the most pressing global public health problems, and recent research indicates that environmental factors, including access and exposure to substances of abuse, neighborhood disadvantage and disorder, and environmental barriers to treatment, influence substance use behaviors. Racial and socioeconomic inequities in the factors that create risky substance use environments may engender disparities in rates of substance use disorders and treatment outcomes. Environmental justice researchers, with substantial experience in addressing racial and ethnic inequities in environmental risk from technological and other hazards, should consider similar inequities in risky substance use environments as an environmental justice issue. Research should aim at illustrating where, why, and how such inequities in risky substance use environments occur, the implications of such inequities for disparities in substance use disorders and treatment outcomes, and the implications for tobacco, alcohol, and drug policies and prevention and treatment programs. Full article

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