Rite Aid Selling Smoke Machine Fuel Containing Antifreeze

Rite Aid is selling antifreeze-laced fog juice, the substance that is atomized and turned into a gas by smoke machines, isn’t terribly concerned, reports reader Jennifer.

Instructions available on making your own smoke machine fuel specifically forbid using ethylene glycol, as it is a deadly poison. You remember your mother teaching you how it’s bad to turn a poisonous liquid into a gas, right?

The distributor, Harry at First Imperial Trading Company, told Jennifer that ethylene glycol was a “harmless food additive.” (He somehow must have it confused with propylene glycol…)

When Jennifer contacted the CPSC, they referred it to Rite Aid, who referred it back to the manufacturer. The local Rite Aid, however, did agree to take the bottles off the shelves, but what of the 5,000 other Rite Aids?fogbig.jpg


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  1. alice_bunnie says:

    Well, you’re not supposed to drink it. And, I’m sure two aisles over there’s the same ingredient in the automotive aisle. I think someone doesn’t understand that there are some things you don’t drink. Hey, don’t let her over to the cleaning aisle, she’ll really freak out.

  2. timmus says:

    Is this from China? Enquiring minds want to know!

  3. juri squared says:

    @alice_bunnie: Yeah, but you don’t atomize and inhale cleaners or automotive fluids. If I were to buy fog juice, I’d like to buy the sort that I don’t need to hold my breath around. Call me crazy.

  4. takotchi says:

    No, you’re not drinking it… just releasing into the air as a fog so you can inhale it instead.

    I really hope they just got the name wrong, and that stuff isn’t actually IN there.

  5. alice_bunnie says:


    I see, I stand corrected. :)

  6. Dickdogfood says:

    Well, yes, they’re poisons too, but the last time I checked nobody was packaging antifreeze or bleach for use in machines that atomize such liquids into thick and billowy clouds of fog that (presumably) people breathe in.

  7. Dickdogfood says:

    Ah, I’m a little late. Sorry. :)

  8. faust1200 says:

    I love fog juice! It’s very refreshing on those foggy days! It may also explain why the English’s teeth are so jacked up.

  9. ptkdude says:

    I think everyone is forgetting that to Chinese companies, ethylene glycol *is* a “harmless food additive”.

  10. getjustin says:

    Fog machines creep me out anyway, but I think this needs a little more research. Yes it’s poisonous, but the sources talk about ingesting it. Now I’m not saying breathing it is a good thing, but its concentration might not be that bad. Kinda like standing in a bus terminal huffing diesel fumes: you know it can’t be good, but you’re not in it all day.

    But you gotta love this from wikipedia:

    If one has ingested ethylene glycol, give the person an alcoholic beverage while the paramedics arrive.

    That’s my kinda poison!

  11. warf0x0r says:

    I’d like to here what a chemist has to say, but from what I’ve read… yeah that could kill you and your party guests so unless you want to kill your party guests probably don’t use that stuff.

  12. e10 says:

    All the movie fog machines run on juice containing this chemical. We do breath it all day at times and the result is many-fold. 1. Black snot- I always have black residue, almost like soot, in my nostrils and coating my buggers, which are also more plentiful. 2. My throat hurts, like I’m coming down with a cold. 3. My eyes burn. 4. I get a headache.

    We are supposed to be able to go outside and get fresh air intermittently, and although nobody would ever say you couldn’t if you just got up a left, it is often very difficult to do so because we’d never finish the day. I’ve been in small spaces with this stuff for 12 hrs and I’m sure it is very bad for your health.

  13. veronykah says:

    @e10: AH! I have always wondered what was in that stuff. I used to work in nightclubs and they pump the fake smoke like there is no tomorrow. I used to have the exact same symptoms plus a giant headache the next day after spending 10 hours in a club so smokey you couldn’t see 20 feet away.
    I was pretty sure the fake smoke was the reason I always felt so horrible after work but now I am sure that was the culprit.

  14. Terek Kincaid says:

    This is off of the MSDS ([www.jtbaker.com]):
    Vapor inhalation is generally not a problem unless heated or misted. Exposure to vapors over an extended time period has caused throat irritation and headache. May cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness. Pulmonary edema and central nervous system depression may also develop. When heated or misted, has produced rapid, involuntary eye movement and coma.

    Hmm, coma doesn’t sound good. How did this stuff get to market? It sounds like short term exposure is Ok, but longer term isn’t great.

  15. hoo_foot says:

    @timmus: You can clearly see the “Made in China” on the bottle in the second picture.

  16. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    As you can see in the photo, it’s right there on the label: “MADE IN CHINA”!

  17. jook says:

    I’ll tell my local rite aid about it. Hopefully they’ll choose not to sell it. I used to work there, so hopefully the manager will listen to me…

  18. infinitysnake says:

    @alice_bunnie: You’re not supposed to breathe it, either. Tell me- would you leave a bottle with no safety cap labeled “halloween juice” where children could reach it? It only takes a few swigs to kill a child.

  19. infinitysnake says:

    @alice_bunnie: Sorry, should keep reading. It’s been very frustrating dealing with this mess.

  20. darkclawsofchaos says:

    That will teach those kids not to egg houses on Halloween or even trick or treat for that matter. The problem is not the vapors but the fact the dangerous chemical is atomized that breathing it in is like drinking it through your lungs.

  21. brennie says:

    E10, unless you are working on a non union set, you should report that stuff to IATSE. Chemical fog in a closed environment has been against union regulations for a couple of decades. That stuff can KILL you. That doesn’t stop lots of folks from using it in haunted houses, etc., but on a closed set, you should be protected.

    As for the consumer, tell her to find a local dry ice perveyor. It’s not too expensive and WAY cooler.

  22. infinitysnake says:

    Dry ice is actually much more expensive as far as output. I get billows of ground covering mist from one three-dollar PG mixture and a home-made fog chiller, A pound of dry ice maybe does one cauldron’s worth of mist for the same price. (even then, not really worth it- we use a mister for that)

  23. kmccoy says:

    The entertainment industry is finally starting to move away from this nasty fog stuff. On my last show, we stopped using the disgusting DF-50, which uses some oily stuff that makes people ill and makes a mess everywhere, to the Look Solutions hazers/foggers, which use a “water-based solution”, which I’m understanding is better. If I weren’t on dialup, I’d go lookup the MSDS’s for the two and compare.

  24. Skeptic says:

    BY TEREKKINCAID AT 09/05/07 11:14 PM

    This is off of the MSDS ([www.jtbaker.com]):


    Vapor inhalation is generally not a problem unless heated or misted.

    …that’s pretty funny because that is exactly what foggers do! They heat up the fog juice to create an atomized mist. You aren’t inhaling the “vapor” –the gaseous form of ethylene glycol–it’s the liquid in a fine mist you are breathing in!

    @ KMCCOY AT 12:53 AM

    The propylene glycol foggers are, for some reason, sometimes referred to as “water based” foggers–as opposed to mineral oil based ones. Both kinds of foggers work the same way, they just use different fog juice.

    Hopefully, the water based hazers your productions will use in the future are the fairly rare “real fog” water based fog generators.

  25. Alvis says:

    Probably the best government response I’ve ever heard of, and testament to the dangers of diethlyene glycol:


  26. CyGuy says:

    @Alvis: That story is about another ingredient in this Fog Juice, diethylene glycol – not ethylene glycol. Looking at the ingredients, it also includes triethylene glycol.

    Diethlyene glycol doesn’t seem as dangerous per the MSDS [www.jtbaker.com]

    and Triethylene glycol doesn’t appear to pose any significant risk in vapor form.

  27. Nick986 says:

    Looks like Rite Aid owns Eckerd. Hopefully this stuff isn’t being sold there as well.

  28. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    “Wow, great Halloween decorations! All the fog, and those corpses laying around… you really outdid yourself this year, Bob!”

    “Um… what?”

  29. Henrythoreau says:

    Why again would someone make fog?


    San Francisco

  30. infinitysnake says:

    Because it makes a wonderful, spooky, “in the graveyard” effect. When not made with poison. :-)

  31. MostNutsEver says:

    @Henrythoreau: Rock concert?

  32. jblake1 says:

    Just like all the other chemicals in your house. You are supposed to drink it. It is used everyday during the winter to de-ice airplanes, and it ends up in the ventilation systems of aircraft all the time with no issues. Except of course a little FOG.

    Most things are dangerous at high doses.

  33. jblake1 says:

    oops i missed a word. NOT supposed to drink it.

  34. AndyDuncan says:

    Also, Propylene Glycol (Hooker lube, conditioner, and thousands of other products) is not the same as Ethylene Glycol (Anti-freeze). AFAIK Propylene glycol is non toxic (or at least that’s what the hookers tell me)…

  35. MagicOfLight says:

    Rosco is a reputable company that makes fog fluid.


  36. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @jblake1: The MSDS for ethylene glycol states that “Vapor inhalation is generally not a problem unless heated or misted.” [emphasis mine] Blanket statements like “most things are dangerous at high doses” are meaningless, that’s why we have MSDS.

  37. FLConsumer says:

    Here’s the ingredient list off the Le Matire fog juice bottle I have sitting at home:
    Dipropylene glycol

    I don’t have any haze fluid left, but I know for a fact that Le Maitre’s haze fluids are just glycerol & water. Reel Efx’s is 100% mineral oil (nasty stuff!). I do like the look of the Reel Efx haze, but not willing to put up with that much oily residue over everything.

    @Henrythoreau: Hell, I’ve got a tiny fog machine hidden in a fake air vent in my living room. If the alarm system goes off, it fogs the place, preventing people from stealing my nice audio & video equipment. No burglar’s going to hang around when they see this whiteish/yellowish cloud of gas and loud hissing sound coming from an air vent straight at them. You also can’t steal what you can’t see. It also makes a nice party trick as well. I also have one of these on my back patio to deter burglars from even thinking about breaking a window.

    [www.smokecloak.com] Very cool stuff.

  38. Canadian Impostor says:

    @King of the Wild Frontier: Additionally the MSDS goes on to say “When heated or misted, has produced rapid, involuntary eye movement and coma.”

  39. infinitysnake says:

    Update: Rite Aid claims they are in the process of recalling this product.

  40. Kristoff1 says:

    I always use Froggy’s Fog Swamp Juice (www.froggysfog.com) out of Cookeville, TN for my Halloween fog. I have been using them for about 6 years now with great results in my Haunted House I run here in IL. I have a copy of their MSDS which they have always been willing to send anytime I asked for one. I am very leary of FITCO and some of the other Indonesian and Chinease made stuff. When I read Froggy’s MSDS I noticed that they used only Pharmaceutical or Kosher Grade (no machine grade stuff) chemicals and DI Water. They even include cas numbers in their MSDS. I actually met one of their owners at Hauntcon Convention in Detriot this year. He is an mild asthmatic who couldn’t work for extended periods in store bought fog fluid (I think his family owns Laser tags and roller rinks or something like that). Anyway his dads degree was in bio-chemisty and they worked out a way to make fog that didn’t make him sick. For what it is worth, my actors in my Haunt have noticed that their throat doesn’t feel as dried out as it used to and I can definently say it doesn’t stink with a foul oder like that other stuff we used to buy from Walmart. Check them out, they seem to be very nice, honest folks. I am happy!

  41. gingerscorpion says:

    Just this last Sunday I attended a double surprise birthday party in a small low-ceilinged room with a really foul-smelling fog machine and DJ. The 15 or so people I knew there have come down with intense headaches, sore throats, etc. One guy who was in the smoke and next to the machine for about 5 hours has been home sick since Monday and is coughing up blood. I’m not sure about the other 25 or so people…I was also effected, but not with the same intensity because I was outside as much as possible. Fog machines should have been taken off shelves for the smell alone years ago! The fog machine seemed like the most likely culprit for this outbreak and I just wish that I had come across this consumer alert earlier…