Serum DDTs during or just after pregnancy were associated with breast cancer in mothers (F0), and with breast cancer, mammographic density, and obesity in adult daughters (F1) in the Child Health and Development Studies multi-generational cohort in prior publications. Here, we investigate F0 perinatal serum DDT associations with granddaughters'(F2) measured obesity at a median age of 26 and self-reported age at menarche.


F2 weight, height and waist circumference were measured by trained examiners. o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE were measured in archived F0 perinatal serum. F0 DDT associations with F2 outcomes, accounting for F1 characteristics, were estimated in log-linear models adjusted for F0 and F1 body mass index (BMI), race, and menarche timing (N = 258 triads for obesity; N = 235 triads for early menarche). Interactions between F0 BMI and DDTs were estimated.


F0 o,p'-DDT was associated with F2 obesity [Odds ratio (OR), 2.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3–6.7; tertile 3 vs. 1), among normal weight F0 (70%), but not among overweight and obese F0 (Pinteraction = 0.03), independent of other DDTs. F0 o,p'-DDT was also associated with F2 early menarche (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1–3.9, tertile 3 vs. 1) and this association was not modified by F0 BMI.


Ancestral exposure to environmental chemicals, banned decades ago, may influence the development of earlier menarche and obesity, which are established risk factors for breast cancer and cardiometabolic diseases.


Discovery of actionable biomarkers of response to ancestral environmental exposures in young women may provide opportunities for breast cancer prevention.

See related commentary by Fenton and Boyles, p. 1459

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