Endocrine disrupting chemical exposure and developmental programming in the Qom of Argentina
The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) theoretical model posits that environmental exposures during the first 1,000 days after conception can have profound changes on health across the lifespan. Among the exposures of concern are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are in the water we drink, the food we eat, even the air we breathe. EDCs are known to have myriad adverse health impacts, including long-term alterations to metabolism and reproductive function. My dissertation project builds on our knowledge of the sensitivity of the developing endocrine system by studying EDC exposure during early infancy in relation to infant hormone profiles in suspected low and high exposure communities. Using an innovative metabolomics approach to fully characterize environmental chemical exposures, my project will measure EDC exposure profiles across 3 biological matrices from 100 mother-infant dyads by collecting human milk as well as maternal and infant urine from mothers and infants in two Qom communities in northern Argentina, one peri-urban and one rural. I plan to use this data to assess variation in EDC and hormone metabolism to guide a deeper understanding of how global market integration influences exposure to manufactured chemicals that disrupt health and development.