Mecca Burris

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Indiana U., Bloomington

Grant number

Gr. 10101

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Burris, Mecca (Indiana U., Bloomington) "A comparative analysis of the influence of pesticide exposure on age at menarche in Costa Rica"

The proposed research explores variation in the timing of menarche between girls living in industrial agricultural environments and those living in more buffered environments in Costa Rica. Individuals in agricultural environments are subject to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) as a result of intensive pesticide use on nearby crops. While the psychosocial and nutritional contributions to variation in reproductive maturation are well-documented, the influence of EDCs is not. EDCs disturb steroid hormones involved in the onset and rate of reproductive maturation. Therefore, EDCs can impact an individual’s age at menarche — the first “regular” menstrual episode and a marker of maturation rate among girls. Age at menarche reflects environmental influences on reproductive strategies, and early menarche is connected to increased risks for chronic diseases. This study will sample girls from industrial agriculture communities and communities separated from agriculture by large national forests in Sarapiqui and Talamanca, Costa Rica. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, including the novel silicone wristband method to passively measure individual pesticide exposure, I will explore pesticide exposure and mean age at menarche between girls from agricultural and buffered environments. I predict girls in agricultural communities will have higher total pesticide exposure and earlier menarche as a result of endocrine disruption.