Exposure to environmental hazards
This dissertation research brings together disparate bodies of literature on environmental inequality, sociology of space, and feminist theories of intersectionality to bear on the location and distribution of environmental hazards in the form of landfills. Landfills pose a threat to both ecological sustainability as well as present risks to human health through contamination and pollution. While environmental inequality literatures have executed exceptional work into the dynamics of race and class with respect to the distribution of hazardous waste facilities, the literature is noticeably lacking with respect to identifying relationships between gender and environmental inequalities. Furthermore, many quantitative studies have exclusively focused on hazardous waste facilities as a singular measure of environmental inequality. This study advances the field in three major ways. First, through the inclusion of theorizations based on feminist intersectionality theories, this research empirically analyzes hypotheses derived from intersectionality theories to understand dynamics of gender-environment interactions. Second, this study extends analysis to all forms of waste containment—municipal, industrial, construction and demolition, and hazardous—to identify trends across the social fabric of the contiguous United States at the county level of analysis with respect to multiple forms of environmental hazards. Third, utilizing innovative analytic techniques, this research provides three unique and related strategies, geographic information systems, logistic binary regression, and structural equation modeling, to examine socio-environmental disparities. Findings from each analytic strategy inform the subsequent strategy. Findings suggest the importance of including gender indicators to account for the unique effect of gender and environmental inequality. Furthermore, results indicate the importance in applying intersectionality theories to environmental outcomes as well as empirically testing hypotheses derived from the largely theoretical and qualitatively backed field. Future research should focus on specific regional dynamics of identified socio-environmental interactions by including historical and qualitative data to triangulate quantitative findings.