Fog & Smoke Working Group - Reading List

The following list is a bibliography of articles, books, letters, and technical papers that deal with fogs made from mixtures of glycol or glycerin and water, or made from fine oil mists, and that should be relatively easy to obtain. This bibliography is not exhaustive, and certainly will grow. Reader submissions are welcomed. Please send correspondence to
Glycol, Glycerin, and Oil Fog Reading List

ESTA's Fog and Smoke Working Group's CIH Literature Studies

The Fog and Smoke Working Group hired two Certified Industrial Hygiene firms to survey the existing scientific literature concerning the toxicology of glycol and glycerin, particularly those dealing with the inhalation of these compounds. The scope of this project and the resulting reports are available on this website.

Theatrical Smoke, Fog and Haze Testing: Calibration Factors is a revised calibration factor document (June 2023) from Ramboll. Ramboll (then called ENVIRON) collected the original exposure measurements on which guidance levels for theatrical smoke and haze testing for theatrical production in the USA are based, and developed the air sampling protocol recommended by the Actors' Equity Association. The original protocl uses a Thermo Scientific PDR-1000AN aerosol monitor to measure concentrations of theatrical smoke, fog and haze in real time. The document linked here includes calibration factors for certain machine/fluid combination for monitoring using the Particulate Matter (PM) Sensor SPS30 manufactured by Sensirio.

Introduction to Modern Atmospheric Effects, 6th Edition, Entertainment Services and Technology Association, New York: 2016. is available at the TSP Published Documents page. The book briefly explains the different fog-making technologies and gives advice on how to make and use fog safely and effectively. It is written as an introductory text, not a comprehensive manual.

CSATF Safety Bulletin No. 10., Guidelines Regarding the Use of Artificially Created Atmospheric Fog & Haze and Addendum A for the Safety Bulletin CSATF, June 2018, together are the most recent edition of Safety Bulletin 10 from the Contract Services Administration Trust Fund. The Addendum includes guidance on modifying exposure limits to address long work-shifts. Different editions of Safety Bulletin 10 dealing with fog and smoke in motion picture production have been published for over 25 years.

Motion Picture Safety Bulletin No. 10., Artificial Smokes, and Fogs, ActSafe, July 2018 is a guidance document for the motion picture industry from ActSafe in Canada. It includes guidance on modifying exposure limits to address the long work-shifts often encountered in the motion picture industry.

Calibration Factors for Haze and Fog in the Film Industry and Addendum - Additional Fog Fluid Calibration Factors are two studies done by Aura Health and Safety for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees local in British Columbia, published in 2018. The studies used the DustTrak DRX 8533 aerosol to develop calibration curves for a range of fog machines and fluids to allow the real-time monitoring of glycol and glycerin fogs.

Theatrical Fog Exposure Assessment Methods, Exposure Limits, and Health Effects -- Literature Review is a report on a study done in 2017 by the Colden Corporation and the Phylmar Group for the Contract Services Administration Trust Fund.

Health Effects Evaluation Of Theatrical Smoke, Haze, And Pyrotechnics, prepared for the Equity-League Pension and Health Trust Funds by researchers from the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the ENVIRON International Corporation in 2000, is a study of how pyrotechnic and fog effects affect actors. It is a foundational document, upon which many standards for the use of theatrical fog are based.

HETA 90-355-2449, Health Hazard Evaluation Report for Actors' Equity Association /
The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.

Burr, Van Gilder, Trout, and Wilcox, NIOSH, August 1994

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Health Evaluation and Technical Assistance (HETA) reports are government documents, and are available at

HETA-88-117-0000, Technical Assistance to the
International Association of Fire Fighters, Washington, D.C
Gregory A. Burr, C.I.H., NIOSH, November 1988.

NIOSH HETA reports are government documents, and are available at

HETA 94-0130
Gregory A.Burr, C.I.H., Thomas J. Van Gilder, M.D. , NIOSH, January 24, 1994.

NIOSH HETA reports are government documents, and are available at

Focal Guide to Safety in Live Performance.
George Thompson, Focal Press (an imprint of Butterworth-Heinemann), Oxford: 1993.
ISBN 0-240-51319-3.

This book contains an excellent chapter on the safety of artificial fogs, along with equally good chapters on fire, pyrotechnics, luminaire maintenance, lasers, noise, and crowd control. The fog chapter is derived from the information Thompson uncovered for his PLASA Report of 1990. (See below.)

Health Effects of Glycol Based Fog Used in Theatrical Productions.
Consultech Engineering Co., Consultech Engineering Co., 1995.

The Consultech report was commissioned by Actors' Equity Association. Contact the Association at 165 W. 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, +1-212-869-8530.

"A foggy forecast: Where there's smoke, there's argument," Dramatics
Don Corathers, September 1996. pp. 52-56.

Dramatics is published by the Educational Theatre Association, 3368 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45225-2392. It is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, +1-313-761-4700.

Letter to Stan Miller, President and CEO of Rosco Laboratories
Thomas A. Hall, PhD., C.I.H., Director of Industrial Hygiene at Sciences International, critiquing the Consultech report. September 11, 1995.

Contact the literature department at Rosco Laboratories for a copy of Dr. Hall's letter critiquing the Consultech report. Rosco Laboratories is at 52 Harbor View Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902. +1-203-708-8900; fax +1-203-708-8915. Email

"Are theatrical fogs dangerous?" Chemical Health & Safety
Harry H., Jr. Herman, July/August 1995.

This article is written by the author of the Consultech report, and summarizes the results of that report. It is being distributed by Actors Equity to its members. Chemical Health & Safety was published by the American Chemical Society, 1155 - 16th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20036.

Letter and response in "Letters to the Editor" TCI
Harry H. Herman Jr. and Karl G. Ruling, August/September 1996. pp. 4, 42, 43.

TCI was published by Intertec Publishing. As is the case with any magazine, the inexpensive, low-tech way to read an article is to find it at the local library. Microfilm copies are available from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, +1-313-761-4700. Quantity reprints or photocopies can be arranged by contacting Chris Lotesto at +1-312-435-2357.

Letter to Lowell Fowler, CEO of High End Systems
James P. Kehrer PhD., critiquing the Consultech report. August 28, 1995.

High End Systems has made the text of this letter available on this web site.

"The Fog Thickens," Stage Directions
Kent Lantaff March 1996. pp. 25-30.

Stage Directions is a publication of Life Style Media, Inc; 110 William Street, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10038, +1-646-459-4800.

Analysis And Toxicology Of Le Maitre Smoke Fluids
B. A. Colenutt, PhD., February 1985.

Le Maitre Special Effects Inc. has made the text of this report available on this website.

Exposure Standard for Fog Oil
Winifred G. Palmer, Technical Report 9010, US Army Biomedical Research & Development Laboratory, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD 21702-5010, November 15, 1990.

This document is approved for public release with unlimited distribution. Military technical reports are theoretically available from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, VA 22161, but whether this particular document is readily available from that source has not been confirmed.

"Safe Smoke: Glycol-Based Fogs" Lighting Dimensions
Karl G. Ruling, April 1995. pp. 84, 86, 87, 89.

Lighting Dimensions is published by Primedia Business. Find it at the library or order microfilm copies from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, +1-313-761-4700. Quantity reprints or photocopies can be arranged by contacting Chris Lotesto at +1-312-435-2357.

"Clearing the Air About Fog" TCI
Karl G. Ruling, April 1996. pp. 45-48.

TCI was published by Intertec Publishing. Find it at the local library or order microfilm copies from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346, +1-313-761-4700. Quantity reprints or photocopies can be arranged by contacting Chris Lotesto at +1-312-435-2357.

PLASA Report on Investigation Into Safety of Smoke Machines.
George Thompson, PLASA, November 1990.

Order from the PLASA, Redoubt House, 1 Edward Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 8AS, UK. Telephone +44-1323-524120 or fax +44-1323-524121.

"Standards Watch: Following Manufacturer's Instructions," Protocol, Karl G. Ruling, Fall 2015, pp. 56 - 59.

The article explains why following a fog machine manufacturer's instructions is important, and what responsibilities an effects operator takes on when those instructions are not followed. You can find the article in Protocol on-line or right here.

Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry:
Constituents, Exposures, and Health Effects

Report to SHAPE, the Workers' Compensation Board of BC,
and the BC Lung Association, March 27, 2003
Kay Teschke, Yat Chow, Michael Brauer, Chris van Netten, Sunil Varughese, and Susan Kennedy

The 99-page report of a study on IATSE Local 891 members exposed to theatrical fog is available here.







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