Running Behind the DDT Truck

If you are close to my age, you remember in the mid-to-late-1950’s running behind the DDT trucks.  My mom would feed us early enough that we were done with dinner in time to run after the trucks as they sprayed our neighborhood several times per week, sometimes every night, with the thick and exciting bank of fog.  Much like waiting for the ice cream truck, we couldn’t wait for the sound of the fogger motors as they rounded the corner to our street.

Kids would ride bikes, skate, and run behind them.  The trucks came to our beaches where mosquito populations were high.  There was a poster that I remember that hung on the wall of our school showing the government spraying school lunch room food to show that there was no danger to the children (although I always wondered why the guys who were spraying it wore haz-mat suits).

It is certainly one of those crazy things that you remember when you think of how different times were then.  But the world has gotten so “correct” about so many things.  In the 1940’s, Dr. Paul Muller won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his break-through findings on how DDT killed insects.  Its use became widespread in the 1950s (80 million tons were used on US farmlands in 1958, and at one point there were 220 million pounds produced in the US in one year).  By 1962, malaria, a horrid disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, was eliminated in the US primarily because of the use of DDT.

In all of its years of use and in subsequent studies, it has been found to be safe for humans, it doesn’t cause birth defects, and there are no serious side effects.  It has no odor.  Called the “Atomic Bomb of Pesticides,” nothing comes close to its ability to kill the mosquitoes that carry malaria and typhus.  But in our infinite wisdom, we banned it in 1972.  Studies show that it can be used heavily to kill off the mosquito population, and then use it very sparingly afterwards to keep the pest population down.

One child dies every 30 seconds in Africa, India, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries because they are not using DDT, which is very inexpensive to purchase.  In the year 2000, 300 million people had malaria, two million of them died from it, and one million of those were children.  An infected bite can take up to four years to affect your kidney and liver.  Environmentalists say that it MAY harm eagles.  There is no proof of that at all.

Be that as it may, this was supposed to be a recollection of a fun childhood memory, not an opinionated rant.  Do any of YOU remember the DDT trucks?

69 thoughts on “Running Behind the DDT Truck”

  1. I remember them with great fondness, and I’ve survived for over 60 years after breathing those fumes…

      • I lived on Long Island NY, and I remember so well running behind that truck, couldn’t figure out why we did it but it was fun. Maybe it was the fog that it made. Who can figure out kids? But it was good exercise.

        • Fruit Valley, Grand Junction Co.. We never ran after a single truck, but the trucks came by a few times a week.. They came down the Alleys, on the streets.
          Our Mother would call us in… We had many bushes and fruit trees. Much to my mothers objection, we would eat the fruit without washing.. There was also
          a DDT bomb, that was used for indoor insects…ROACHES, etc.. My mother would let one or two of these bombs off and we escaped to the drive in. We did not
          cover our sheets, bedding etc.. She covered the kitchen well, but would not go to extreme..
          We are all alive and kicking well… I have NEVER heard of anyone becoming sick, due to DDT…The reading I have done, showed the woman that declared it
          bad, never did any research regarding DDT.. They took it off the market without proof.. This man today with all of his stats, I find subject to being valid.
          I am not calling him a liar, I am simply saying I have much doubt… I am going to check some of his stats… I am not a fond follower of the EPA.. I think they
          are a complete mess.. They would ban Milk if they had their way… I am all for bringing DDT back.. It was a great product…

          • I don’t see how chemicals to kill mosquitos can be safe for people. The town I grew up in had that DDT truck go around and there are a surprising number of people getting cancer,leukemia also MS. I just finished reading testing results of what the consequences can be for a small dose of the chemical never mind a large or prolonged over a few months white smoke coming from the back of a truck. Children in the smoke breathing in the chemical that kills mosquitos and who knows what else. There are other safer ways to deal with mosquitos. Plants that make them keep there distance, new improved bug zappers.citranella candles or tourchs. Life is a precious gift we’re given. And no disrespect towards you I’m just giving my opinion. There is no way on gods green earth that I would take the chance and gamble with my childs life or anyone’s life when there are safe alternatives. Life is a gift and it is precious. Almost everyday I see another drug that they thought was safe now causes blood clots, heart attack and death. It kills yes mosquitos but what else not me or my child. How many times you see where a company knows there product isn’t safe but because of greed they keep it a secret. People are getting sick and dying. Some are getting Parkinsons, dementia,leukemia, people are dying of cancer. The people in my life, family, friends we are not going to gamble with our precious gift of life to prove a point that it ruins lives with illness and some aren’t so lucky and get leukemia or cancer and die instead dementia or other illnesses. Well I gave my opinion but I read about the tests and results. God Bless you.

      • Hi Mimi-good article but also not good. I and my sister rode behind these trucks in the “London fog” in Wheatridge; our oldest sister did not. Assuming that because you had no ill effects from DDT, and therefore it must be safe is a dangerous form of logic. Also, recent “studies” claiming no ill effects from DDT are company sponsored “studies”. Legitimate studies regarding past and present use of DDT are widely available. (See The Pine River Statement: Human Health Consequences of DDT Use). My sister and I both had several miscarriages and difficulty nursing-both of which have been identified as common consequences of high exposure to DDT in prepubescent females. My oldest sister (the one who didn’t break the rules and ride in the “London fog”) had no such issues. Does this mean that our issues were conclusively due to DDT? No. However our DDT blood levels are 3 and 5 times higher than that of our oldest sister, thus, it is a plausible link. I do understand that you were simply sharing a fond childhood memory. Admittedly we also had great fun doing so-yet not without consequence. I know your post isn’t specifically about DDT per se, however, the added assumption of lack of harm from DDT exposure is a bit unfortunate.

      • Everyone didn’t die during the bubonic plague, either. That doesn’t mean the bubonic plague didn’t kill all those people, just like DDT and I think you know why those guys were wearing hazmat suits. They knew better.

      • The article was not on the pros and cons of DDT and the government’s widespread use of it. I was merely sharing a memory that was commonplace for my generation.

        • Dear Mimi- I am 70. Told the story to my family about how all of us on the block would chase the DDT truck. They thought it was funny but also a little crazy! They asked questions about where were my parents,etc. an
          The odd thing is – all five of us on the block that chased the trucks had twins around the same time! So as a joke I’ve always said it was because we chased the DDT truck😁

      • Me and my friends rode our bikes behind the trucks.. 54yo and no cancer and to the best of my knowledge none of my friends got it either… They should start fogging againg with west Nile and now Zika…

        • Well, in the mid & late1950’s my 2 cousins and I would wait until late afternoon summertime in Tennessee just before sundown the Mosquito truck spraying DDT smoke would come down our street. We would jump on our bikes or run behind the truck (an Army jeep actually) because it was fun. The only danger we saw then was possibly other vehicles coming in the opposite direction that might not see us and run over us. It was exciting! Little did we know that one of my cousins later died from Lung cancer at age 52. My other cousin died in her early 60’s of Lung and Liver cancer. They never smoked and neither do I. There was previously no cancer at all in our families dating back several generations. There is no way we can prove just how many people died years later because of this chemical. I am 67 now and sweating it out. Olin Chemical Corporation was the culprit. We will never defeat, or cheat Mother Nature without some adverse repercussions.

        • Cheryl, Yes. DDT has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease in Medical studies – source CDC Atlanta and Web MD. Also it is linked to causing Alzheimer’s Disease and Autism in Children and other Neurological diseases. Google it, but check your sources for validity. I hope you recover from your illness.

        • Cheryl, I am truly sorry about your illness’s.. Did they actually PROVE they were caused by DDT? I hardly think so.. Its probably a thought..
          Stay well,
          Carolyn

        • Cheryl,
          Have you gotten any more information on the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease? The Rocky Mountain Arsenal northeast of Denver produced that among other things.
          My family members have PD. Lived in that area. Right between Rocky Flats and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
          Just wondered. Thank you.

          I remember chasing these trucka in Nebraska. But, as it was banned in 1972, I must have been 8 and younger!

    • Here, here, lol and now they have the Zika virus here and ppl are screaming about the bees. Last time I checked, we still have bees. They survived just like you and I and millions of other bees and people.

    • My sister, Doren Arden, wasn’t so lucky. In the 50’s, and until 1963 when we moved to NYC, we lived as kids in Merrick, in Nassau County. I was 4 years younger than Doren and I was terrified of what I called the Fog Man. When I smelled the DDT odor and knew the truck was getting near, I’d run home as quickly as I could, close all the windows and blinds, and hide behind the couch. It’s as if I had a sixth sense that the Fog Man was death. And if I wasn’t close to home, I’d pound on the door of any house I was near and plead, “Please let me in, the Fog Man is coming.” I’d hold my breath and hold my nose for as long as I could. My sister didn’t have this fear and she stayed outside to play in the fog with her friends. My sister died of breast cancer at age 33 in 1981. No one else in my family, in any generation, has ever had cancer. There was a breast cancer cluster in Nassau County and it is believed that many who developed breast cancer later in life came out of this breast cancer cluster that was caused by the DDT spraying during the time we lived in Merrick. The Fog Man was, indeed, death.

      • I am now 72, in great health and rode my bike for miles behind the DDT truck. Cancer clusters are mostly myth.

    • Omg I did that too when I was 8 and my dad was stationed in the azores
      We would run behind the ddt truck
      Some kid swooned dizzy
      I never did
      I liked the smell
      How crazy
      I an in my 60s now
      Thank god I am still okay, not brain damaged lol

  2. I was just recalling my good ‘ol childhood memories of the infamous “fog machine” aka “bug man” this evening. I grew up in the 70’s in Babylon Village, NY where spraying was an evening ritual. I remember we were warned by our parents, not to go into the fog. Lol. However entire rebellious neighborhood child population couldnt wait to hear the loud motor turning the corner whereas we would then run for cover until the “fog machine” passed, for he would stop spraying if he saw us, and then run and dance through the thick evening smoke swinging our hands in the air!! What fun times!! Perhaps I’m more affected from this childhood pesticide ritual than I thought..? LOL!

    • that is so neat, Robin. I obviously don’t know the long-term implications of our childhood escapades . . . but I know that millions still die from the mosquitos . . .

      • I wish I was not seeing this so long after it was written! I’ve often recounted this memory to my husband, much to his disbelief, shock, and only a tiny bit of amazement (if you knew me the last part would make a lot more sense…LOL!) Thank you for validating my childhood memory. Was it good for us? Probably not, but what a fabulous memory, and I too have survived it, with most of my wits in tact. I also agree that bug borne illness is more dangerous than the pesticide, and new types crop up constantly….very frightening. On a lighter note, Thank you again..this made my evening!!!!

    • Robin, I am laughing.. We never ran behind the trucks, it never entered our minds.. We were young girls.. Ya think it had something to do with a mental or a male thing?
      One of my friends, he would place a towel around his neck and jump from high places screaming, Hercules… He did break a limb….:O)
      Don’t take offence to my humor….

  3. me and my brother and every other kid in our lower-middle class neighbor in lower-middle boring Kinston, NC thought these trucks the greatest. They sorta tied for first place in the cheap entertainment with us coasting our bikes down this long hill to the back of a candy warehouse distributor who dumped all their old candy in big dumpster right there for the taking. We’d swoop down off the hill and dumpster dive right in that stale candy and eat the heck out of it. But, back to the mosiquto truck, we would run and run and run and just breathe that spray like we were breathing in the heavenly clouds themselves. 11 years ago when I got breast cancer and none of my relatives had it., I didn’t someone or something to blame so after I thought my husband might get really pissed if I told being around his mother had given me cancer, my mind went immediately to those dang mosiquito trucks. But, my husband, being the all mighty mister know it all, explained to me how save the stuff coming from the back of those truck was compared to some of the other stuff in the late 60’s and 70’s that I inhaled.

    • Fact of the matter, Linda, is that the DDT was a LOT safer than the mosquitoes that it was there to kill. It really is a shame that it has been discontinued, especially in the poorer countries. Economical and effective and safe.

      • Mimi Foster,
        I agree with you.. The closest we came into contact was as I explained, the DDT bombs used for indoor use.. My parents would set off these bombs and we
        would all go to the Drive ins.. We came home and laid our tired little heads down on those pillows and covered with the bedding.. None of the five children,
        my parents, have had cancer, Thank God.. We lived for a year in Nashville, TN.. In all my life I have NEVER seen the likes of bugs and ROACHES.. I am
        terrifies of Roaches.. The people in Nashville, upper class neighborhoods, used Kerosene to clean with.. In Tubs, bath fixtures, etc.. This was to kill roaches.
        I would never try that, for fear I would burn the house down.. I think we should bring DDT back to good use..

  4. Yup! Back in the late 60s out in the town of Cheshire, Mass. Same story! We’ hear the “fog truck” coming and we’d jump on our bikes and wait for it to pass by. Then we’d take of pedaling as fast as we could to read as deep within the “fog bank”. Our moms were always more worried about us getting hit by cars than anything else.

    Great memories!!!

  5. DDT bugs me. The problem is DDT is persistant in the environment. It is bad news for many organisms, such as birds frogs and fish. ultimately, probably for humans as well. It is one of those chems deemed unsafe even by the chemists. That should tell you something. It just never goes away, obviously, that is bad.
    As far as mosquito mitigation goes, it is proven effective beyond many other chemical methods.

    • Mosquitoman SP??? Chemists also tell us there is GLOBAL WARMING…. Even after they were proven to have lied about the results when tested..

  6. Actually, at the same time you were inhaling those DDT fumes, some of you were getting sick with polio. The very thing that was sprayed on children with a prayer that it would somehow keep you from the horrible fate of polio, has been very closely correlated with polio outbreaks. Polio began to decline before the vaccine was widely available but after DDT use fell off. The seasonality of the disease correlates with the summer spraying.

    “The vaccination programs are irrelevant to the decline of polio, while pesticides correlate perfectly with polio. The unfunded, ostracized theory of poison causality far exceeds all other theories in simplicity, exactitude, and directness regarding correlations within all data areas: dosage, physiology, etiology, epidemiology, economics, and politics.”–Jim West

  7. I am 65 and just spoke of doing this as a child in an army base in Georgia . We all thought this was great fun. I do have controlled asthma and sinus issues. My brother and sister who also ran behind the truck are older and they are fine.

  8. OMG OMG OMG .. People stop blaming everything in the environment on your ailments. PEOPLE GET SICK.. PEOPLE GET DISEASE.. USUALLY IT’S GENETICS. Myself and all of my siblings ran behind those trucks and rode our bikes in it in a small town in Texas growing up.. NONE of us got cancer..

    IF YOU GET CANCER it’s not because you smoke.. or somebody sprayed insecticide .. it’s because of your genetics.. or sometimes crap happens.. Please for the love of god stop believing every coincidental study that gets published by people looking for investors in their new product.

    It’s the oldest game in the book, if you want to ruin the competition .. do a study that shows people get cancer more from that product.. they will be out of business in no time and you can laugh all the way to the bank.

    • When I first heard of DDT, we were young (eight yrs old) while living in Grand Junction, CO.. Junction is a Fruit Valley. I am sure there is other farming but at least three or so times a week, the trucks came down our Alleys…Mom would have us come into the house until the trucks were gone.. The spraying always happened during the day hours. We had all kinds of Fruit trees, and Berry Bushes in our yards.. OF COURSE OUR Moms said wash the fruit before you eat it… DID WE? No. A few years later when the GRAND COCKROACH began getting more prominent, THEY made a DDT BOMB.. My parents would load us up in the car and off to the Drive In Theater we would go.
      Our parents would set a couple of bombs off and when we came home, there would be dead roaches, etc.. We slept on those pillows and covers, never to give it a second thought.. DDT in my opinion was a safe product that kept GERM carrying roaches, mosquitoes, and other bugs under control.(dead). These things that grow in our grass, the little worms that kill off our grass, well the crap we use today, does not kill the worms.. It’s just another way the government has created for us to spend money and keep the economy going in their favor.. GRUBS, BILL BUGS.. My daughter just came in and told me the names of the worms… DDT would have killed this off in no time.. They also used ddt for BED BUGS.. I remember my grandmother and mom, spraying our mattresses and bed clothing.. We had none of these bed bugs and today they are everywhere…
      All of my sisters and brothers are alive and kicking.. I am 72.. So go figure, one older sister and three siblings under me.. This still does not make me feel good about Monsanto.. That is another can of worms..

  9. Yes, and I believe this continued through the early 1960s in our neighborhood on the south shore of Long Island. We used to call it “Playing Outer Limits” to run behind the trucks and get lost in the fog. This referred to an episode of a popular sci-fi TV show in which a fog enshrouds a whole town. The idea was later used in the move “The Fog.”

  10. I grew up on SAC (Strategic Air Command) bases and lived in the military housing. Our housing area was often sprayed and neighborhood kids followed the truck like it was the Pied Piper! I was outside but never played in the fog like my younger sister and neighbor kids did because I didn’t like the feeling of breathing it in. As a nurse, I fully understand the great benefits DDT has provided in eliminating mosquito-borne illnesses. However, my mother, younger sister, and myself all developed breast cancer, and my father colon cancer, all with no family history (yes I know most cancers present with no family history). My sister’s was especially aggressive, and she died with it. This was my entire family of four with cancer. Other family friends from the military have developed different cancers at a rate unusual for families, though not as unusual as my own. And all cancers presented before the age of 40, with the exception of my father whose presented before 50.
    That being said, I have the same memories. I remember the kids running and skipping and, yes, dancing in the fog. It is a part of our history, like so many other things our country will never see again. As to the possibility of repercussions from playing in the fog, for me it is only out of concern for my daughters and granddaughters. A lot of things were done without knowing the possible effects; was that better than today when over-regulation prevents the possibility of the good something can do? A prime example is DDT; the stuff works, maybe we just don’t need to breathe it in.

    • AS, I feel that maybe something affiliated with the BASE might have caused your cancers other than ddt… What comes charging out of the engines on base could be
      a huge reason… We actually lived with ddt all around us..
      Sorry about you and your fam..

  11. The Highest rate of Lymph node CANCERS in the country were from people, like myself, who lived on Long Island in the 60’s &70’s. This area is in the Top Ten percentile of the country. My SIster passed on due to this, another Sister was just diagnosed with this Cancer. My Mom passed away from Cushings Disease, which is Cancer of the Adrenal glands. You tell me. Coincidence or not. In my opinion, definitely NOT a Coincidence.

    • Larry Holden… We did not have the Trucks spoken of here.. We had trucks come in the daytime, ever other day or so.. They drove down the ALLEYS.. Our parents MADE us come in, until they were gone.. If I or my siblings had ever CHASED a TRUCK, my Father would have literally blistered our butts.. We ate from our fruit trees and berry bushes, without cleaning.. We laid on our pillows and bed clothing after our home was sprayed with DDT BOMBS, to kill roaches, and any other kind if insect.. Since
      DDT has been taken off the Market, WE HAVE MUCH MORE CANCER THAN BEFORE.. Now where do you think this comes from? Don’t tell me your blaming it still on DDT? There were NEVER any studies to show or see if DDT caused these horrible diseases, but just a woman that FELT DDT was bad….Sounds like a democrat huh?
      There will always be disease, illness, and until there is a known cure, we have to live with it and through it… Thank God for Salk Vaccine that did away with POLIO.
      Today we have whooping cough, measles, cases of polio and many others.. We have such a cockroach problem in large cities, BED BUGS ARE AGAIN, and DDT took care of all of it.. PLEASE BRING BACK DDT. Malaria alone is reason enough. These diseases are being MARCHED in right over our UNGUARDED BORDERS…
      The main reason I came into this site, there is an article saying MONSANTO MADE DDT.. I don’t think so and am looking for info on that subject when I found this site..
      GOOD HEALTH TO ALL….

  12. Grew up in Kanawha County, WV, the chemical capital of the world. The “BUG TRUCK” (actually a jeep) came through our neighborhoods much to our delight! We rode bikes following it until our legs tired. To my recollection there were no protests against our doing so either. And everyone wonders where I get my “glow”…

  13. why do you need to spray DDT? mosquitos don’t cause illness. its your bad genetics that cause you to be sick. god put bugs on the planet for a reason. you should not be spreading your chemicals to change the environment. if you don’t want to be bitten by mosquitos, you should drink some ddt potion

  14. I also ran behind the DDT trucks as a child in the early 1970’s. I currently don’t have cancer, that I know of…but here are a few facts about DDT that you might not know;
    Chlorinated Hydrocarbons/DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane)- DDT is a type of pesticide that helps prevent the spread of disease by insects. DDT has a tendency to accumulate in an animal’s fatty tissues.
    It was first synthesised in 1874. It’s insecticidal action was discovered by Paul Herman Muller and it was developed as a pesticide in the 1940’s.
    DDT is a pollutant; a foreign substance not found in nature, introduced by humans.
    -can travel long distances in the atmosphere
    -takes a very long time for complete biodegradation (to break down by natural processes)
    -it’s lipophilic- (accumulates in fat)
    -it’s a human carcinogen (meaning it is bad for us)
    -has neurological effects (affects the brain and nervous system in animals)
    Additional Reading; book- Silent Spring (1962) written by Rachel Carson 1907-1964, warning of the dangers of misuse of pesticides
    – In the 1960’s, it was noticed that there were decreasing populations of birds (e.g., Pelicanus occidentalis, Brown Pelican)
    -it was found that nesting colonies had very few surviving chicks
    -inhibition of calcium channels in cells- reduced transport of calcium from blood shell gland-causing thinner egg shells
    -high concentrations of DDT were found in fat of adult pelicans
    -high concentration of DDT were found in fishes (pelicans eat fishes) this is a case study in biomagnification- increase in concentration of a toxin as it is consumed and moves up the food chain
    -DDT was banned by the EPA in 1972
    -populations of P. occidentalis have increased since then
    -Residues still present in populations and the environement
    -Montrose Chemical-largest producer of DDT (1940-1970), illegally dumped in sewers off White’s Point , Palos Verdes, CA, it is the largest DDT contamination site in the world (110 metric tons)
    -New data shows a decrease of 90% in DDT and other pollutants in the area, reason; unknown but could be due to one or more factors;
    1) Bad data
    2)landslide-pollutant covered by sediments
    3) moving of shelf into deep water
    4) degradation by loss of chlorine
    -Genyonemus lineatus (The White Croaker) is a bottom feeding fish that tends to concentrate DDT and PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) by the process of biomagnification

    on a side note regarding reproductive harm; my wife has been pregnant twice but we lost both of them, they never survived to birth. Could this be in direct correlation to my running behind the DDT trucks in Massachusetts as a kid? I have no idea but I would not rule it out

    Anyway, Happy Holidays to all, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy New Year!

    -Andrew

    • Thank you for your information, Andrew. This is fascinating to read. I enjoy going back to the 2011 entries and seeing how this thread continues on into 2017.
      Did anyone find out informstion between DDT, pesticides and Parkinson’s disease?

      http://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/pesticides-induced-diseases-database/parkinsons-disease

      I now have learned about a second generation of Parkinson’s Disease in my family. Possibly waiting my turn.

      We live and lived since 1962 between Rocky Mountain Arsenal (producer of nerve gases, abd later pesticides) and Rocky Flats (producer of Atomic bombs) both are at partially public parks and wildlife refuges with scenic bike paths.
      Metro University is gathering data for those having lived near RF to find health patterns, death, etc. But, I have not heard anything about what,Rachel Carson labeled one of the most toxic places in the USA at one time, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, near Denver International Airport.

      I am not sure I would be able to live through the disease for decades if I develop it.

      Thank you, WWII and Cold War eras. Good times! Fun now, pay later! (I wrote above that we chased the fog trucks in western Nebraska until the ban of DDT. Made at RMA)

  15. I used to ride my bike after the “skeeter man” trucks with my cousins in Tennessee, who I would go visit in the summer.
    I can’t tell you how many times I chased that damn truck (we thought it was a game, whoever got closest to the truck would get candy and soda from the other cousins) This happened in the 60’s, during my pre-teen years. However in 2007, I had the upper left lobe of my lungs surgically removed because it was “burned out”.The medical term is “cystic bullae”. I was treated at UC Irvine Medical Center in California. The doctors spent NINE MONTHS testing me because, a) they couldn’t believe I was still alive. b) the damage was only to one lung. My doctors called it a “medical miracle”.
    Sadly, I still have medical problems that I believe stem from my exposure to DDT. My skin, especially my face, breaks out severely form time to time with no discernible cause. Truth be told, with what I have read about DDT and knowing how many countless lung fulls of that stuff I inhaled ( it’s was like “dry ice fog” it didn’t make you choke or gag), I wonder why I’m still alive today. And sadly no attorney I have spoken with says a have a case for damages for what I have suffered.

  16. We always loved to jump on our bikes & follow the mosquito man. We were in the clouds & it seemed magical. Even our mothers called each other to let us kids know the truck was on it’s way. I just turned 60 & was diagnosed with Demyliating Disease. I have numerous lesions on my brain. Could this have been caused by the DDT we so anxiously inhaled?

  17. I remember in the 1970s we would ride our bikes behind the bug man in O’Fallon, MO. Sure the fog didn’t have DDT in it anymore, but who knows what was in it and the health effects from it. I did develop asthma in my 40s but who knows if it’s related to this practice.

  18. I had to send this address to my children, truth can be stranger than fiction. We did that whole fun routine in Syracuse, NY in the 1960’s, and yes, we thought it was hilarious waiting for and chasing the DDT fog truck. That fog was really dense, and if was a still day the fog lingered for a long time. I can’t speak to any health concerns that may or may not be related to this, all zi can say is that was an insane era…

    • Thank you, George! We need to make T-shirts and have a convention! Must be some fun people who lived to tell this story! I am glad so many are coming forward and talking about thus reality. Yes, we chased DDT trucks for fun!
      What an era!

  19. There are hundreds of scientific studies demonstrating the direct impact DDT had on bird populations – both song birds, and the birds of prey (bald eagles included) that feed on song birds. Hopefully a new insecticide can be developed to protect human populations from mosquito-borne illnesses. DDT certainly had a lasting impact on the environment, and could have led to extinctions of entire bird species had it no been banned. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/11/us/bird-populations-rise-after-ddt-ban.html

  20. Yes in the early to mid 1970s we kids would run behind the trucks in Tanglewood Park in North Caroline, while staying there for summer vacations. I really cannot say if the thick white clouds were DDT but they were anti mosquito.

  21. I was a kid in the 60’s and lived along the shore in CT. I remember running behind the “bug mans” truck and the smell. Always wondered if that was the reason my sister got lupus at 14 yrs. old (she passed away at 50 yrs. old from it.) and one neighbor died of brain cancer at 17, another died from a rare disease in his twenties, another died of testicle cancer , also in his twenties, another got leukemia. Is that just a coincidence?

  22. Well, what brought me to this page via Google was my wonder if perhaps riding my bike behind the fogger-truck has caused my recently diagnosed leiomyosarcoma. I’m 54 now, and chemo, radiation, and then a likely 2nd surgery start soon. Then, close monitoring for recurrence for at least 10 years.

    • JW,
      So sorry to hear about your struggle. I wish you the best of health soon!
      Also, you might want to check out what industries were in your area during your ealy years, like weapons plants, chemical plants that made or used pesticides, or storage facilities of waste nd so on. So many things,goung on then.
      Bless you!

  23. RESULTS:
    High levels of serum p,p’-DDT predicted a statistically significant 5-fold increased risk of breast cancer among women who were born after 1931. These women were under 14 years of age in 1945, when DDT came into widespread use, and mostly under 20 years as DDT use peaked. Women who were not exposed to p,p’-DDT before 14 years of age showed no association between p,p’-DDT and breast cancer (p = 0.02 for difference by age).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17938728

  24. I read each one of your entries.
    I lived on Long island throughout my childhood in the early fifties through the late sixties. There was spraying with DDT. My mother did her best to keep myself and my brothers and sisters inside the house, until the spraying was accomplished. I don’t think she was always successful.
    I was curious. We were allowed back outside after the spraying was done, when the leaves still glistened with wetness of the pesticide.
    It was a significant, a telling childhood memory that clings in uncertainty. I believe that perhaps individuals and families have specific proclivities based on familial genetics. You might also call them genetic frailties. Under the circumstances of spraying and breathing, exposure for each individual, their immune response, neurological reaction is perhaps based on their genetic map. Results for ensuing generations: mutations in chromosomes? I don’t know how human genetics work. I’ve been told I think too much. I read the heartache here and I can’t leave without acknowledging the din of valid uncertainty.

  25. I remember them in the sixties when i was about 8 on selfridge air force base.I breathed a lot of that sh*t, but have never been sick.I’m 55 now and I recall the smoke making me cough, they sprayed every night after dark.I don’t remember any kind of warning or caution.

  26. I grew up in Charlestown, Indiana where the US government built the I.AAP plant, a massive ammunition plant in the 1940’s. It was the largest employer in the area. Temporary housing was constructed for the workers at the ammo plant, and many are still being used today, although the city is involved in a court fight with residents of the old projects claiming eminent domain, and claim the old houses are not safe due to asbestos, lead paint and pipes, etc. .
    I remember back, maybe the early 60’s, the ” bug man” would come thru town and we would chase it on our bikes. The heavy fog just rolled out from the truck, like a Pink Floyd concert just opening up on stage. I wondered if the city worker who rode in the back of the truck lived very long. He was constantly exposed to whatever chemicals were used. I always thought there was no telling what ingredients and chemicals were used. I’d say more than likely DDT, but I don’t know this for a fact. We would chase the Bug Man whenever we saw him coming. The city worker would yell out at us, Get away from the truck boys! He was kind of scary, maybe because we couldn’t see him. I didn’t realize that the Bug Man was in other cities, and that there were other young kids across the country that also thought it was fun to chase the bug man.

  27. Mimi, this is so interesting and cintinuing to get cooments after six years. It is great to gather these in one place to get experiences from real people, not jyst case studies. I hope you keep it open. Kind of like a life of its own. I get updates for new comments. Could make a book at some point on its own, unedited! Thanks!

    • Thank you for your comment! We were just talking about that very thing – how all of these years later people are still commenting; how after many decades it is still such a fond memory and everyone has their own interpretation of whether or not it was good or dangerous. Thank you for sharing!

  28. I have always wondered if my infertility and breast cancer are linked to my running behind the mosquito control truck at holiman air force base in the 60s.

  29. I grew up in Hilo, Hawaii and running behind the mosquito spraying trucks was the highlight of our day. Impact on my health? I’m 72 and have run marathons (even the Big Island Marathon) and run triathlons without a problem. I was safer running behind the DDT trucks as a kid vs. my commute today with 18-wheeler trucks on I-95 in Washington, DC.

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