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    The Abusable Volatile Chemical (AVC) Program is within the
    Division for Regulatory Services.
    P. O. Box 149347
    Austin, TX 78714-9347
    512-834-6770



    External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may not be accessible to people with disabilities.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Abusable Volatile Chemicals Program (AVC)

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  1. What is an Abusable Volatile Chemical?
  2. Can the AVC Permit Program provide me with a list of consumer products that would be considered to be AVC products?
  3. Under which state law and rules are AVC products regulated?
  4. Who is required to obtain a permit?
  5. If I sell AVC’s, what am I required to do?
  6. Why is it necessary to permit and inspect AVC product retailers?
  7. How do I obtain an application for an AVC Permit?
  8. What is the cost of the permit?
  9. What is the term of the AVC Permit?
  10. What is the fastest way to obtain a new or renewal AVC Permit?
  11. If I am submitting an AVC Permit application by mail, where do I send my application and permit filing fee?
  12. How do I obtain an AVC Warning Sign?
  13. Does every retail business in Texas have to obtain an AVC Permit?
  14. How do I renew the AVC Permit?
  15. What should I do if I did not receive my renewal from the AVC Permit Program?
  16. What should I do if my AVC Permit has expired and it is now more than 60 days after the Permit Expiration Date?
  17. What can I do if I cannot find the current AVC Permit for my facility?
  18. What happens to my AVC Permit if I sell or move my business, or if I change the name of the business?
  19. If my business ceases to sell AVC products and I already have an AVC Permit, will I get a refund for the period of time left on the two-year permit ?
  20. How can I determine if the AVC Permit Program has received and deposited my permit filing fee?

1.  What is an Abusable Volatile Chemical?
To meet the legal definition of an Abusable Volatile Chemical (AVC), the product in question must be a consumer product that is either nitrous oxide OR a product that meets BOTH of the following criteria:

  • the product label contains the federally-required two-word warning "VAPOR HARMFUL" in all capital letters AND
  • the product may (has the potential to) affect a persons’ central nervous system; create or induce in a person a condition of intoxication, hallucination, or elation; or change, distort, or disturb a person’s eyesight, thinking process, balance, or coordination when inhaled, ingested, or otherwise introduced into a person’s body.

The Abusable Volatile Chemical Act specifically exempts pesticides, food, drugs, cosmetics, and alcoholic beverages from the definition of an AVC.

The "VAPOR HARMFUL" warning is required on consumer products by a federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) law that regulates products containing certain types of chemicals.  Since different product brands have their own chemical formulas, one brand of a product may be an AVC while another brand is not. Therefore, it is important to check the labels of all products for the "VAPOR HARMFUL" warning to determine whether or not they may be AVCs.  (Please note that warnings such as “Vapors may be harmful” are not equivalent to the CPSC warning of “VAPOR HARMFUL.”) 

In addition, the reason that the AVC definition uses the phrase “may affect a person’s central nervous system” is because some individuals may experience a diminished narcotic effect over time when they repeatedly abuse these products.  Therefore, if the consumer product has the potential to have a narcotic effect and is labeled “VAPOR HARMFUL,” then the product should be assumed to be an AVC.

As stated above, nitrous oxide sold as a consumer product is also specifically included in the definition of an AVC under the law.  Please note that nitrous oxide sold as a consumer product is an AVC regardless of the warnings it has on the label.  It is commonly sold in small gas cylinders resembling the CO2 cartridges used in air-powered BB guns.  In recent years, nitrous oxide has been heavily abused by minors, so despite the fact that nitrous oxide cartridges can have a legitimate use (it is used by restaurants and consumers to make homemade whipped cream and desserts), all retail sales of nitrous oxide to consumers are regulated under the Texas AVC law.  Finally, it should be noted that nitrous oxide that is sold as a drug (such as nitrous oxide cylinders supplied as an anesthetic agent for use in hospital and dental facilities) does not require an AVC sales permit because all drugs regulated by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act are specifically exempted from the Texas AVC law.

Aerosol (spray) paints are also specifically mentioned in the AVC law and will meet the AVC definition because they will be labeled “VAPOR HARMFUL” and may produce a narcotic effect when abused.

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2.  Can the AVC Permit Program provide me with a list of consumer products that would be considered to be AVC products?

No.  There is no specific list of consumer products that would be considered AVC products under the Texas AVC law.  New consumer products that require the “VAPOR HARMFUL” label under the CPSC labeling law may be brought on the market at any time.  In addition, existing AVC products may be removed from the market at any time as safer or more effective alternative products are developed.  Also, as noted in the answer to Question #1 above, one brand of a consumer product may contain chemical ingredients that make it an AVC, while another manufacturer may produce a similar product that does not have the same or even similar chemical ingredients and therefore might not qualify as an AVC product.

If your business sells at retail even one AVC product, then you will need to obtain an AVC Permit for your business.  If you have only one questionable consumer product that you think may be an AVC product, and you are unsure whether you really need to obtain an AVC Permit for selling that product, please email the AVC Permit Program or telephone (512) 834-6603.

3.  Under which state law and rules are AVC products regulated?

The Texas Abusable Volatile Chemical Act regulates the retail sale of AVC products and is codified in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 485.  The AVC Rules are located in Title 25 of the Texas Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 205, Subchapter D, Sections 205.51-205.66.

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4.  Who is required to obtain a permit?

Retail establishments that are located in Texas and sell consumer products that are regulated as Abusable Volatile Chemicals are required to obtain an AVC sales permit.  Most convenience, hardware, auto parts, grocery, and hobby stores sell one or more AVC products and will be required to obtain an AVC Permit.  However, there are many other types of stores that sell AVC products at retail that will also be required to obtain an AVC Permit.  Even wholesale businesses that occasionally sell AVC products at retail will be required to obtain an AVC Permit.  If you are not sure whether your business is required to obtain an AVC Permit, please contact the AVC Permit Program by telephone at (512) 834-6603 or by email the AVC Permit Program .

5.  If I sell AVC’s, what am I required to do?

Your business MUST:

  • Obtain an AVC Permit from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS’) AVC Permit Program.
  • Make the AVC Permit available for inspection by the public or a DSHS representative (such as a DSHS Regional Inspector).
  • Obtain an AVC Warning Sign from the AVC Permit Program or a DSHS Inspector and display the Warning Sign in a conspicuous place in the business establishment.
  • Restrict sales of all AVC products to purchasers who are at least 18 years of age.
  • Restrict access to any aerosol (spray) paint or set up a computerized checkout system that alerts the cashier when aerosol paint is being purchased, so that the cashier may verify that the purchaser is at least 18 years of age

Selling an AVC product at a retail location that does not have an AVC Permit is a violation of the AVC law (Health & Safety Code, Chapter 485). Therefore, if your business has AVC products and does not yet have an AVC Permit, then you must remove all of the AVC products from your store shelves until the permit is obtained.   In addition, retail sale of an AVC product to a person who is less than 18 years of age is a violation of the AVC law.

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6.  Why is it necessary to permit and inspect AVC product retailers?

The Abusable Volatile Chemical Act was enacted in order to prohibit the retail sale of consumer products that contain abusable volatile chemicals (AVCs) to any person who is less than 18 years of age and to educate the public about the dangers of AVCs.  Recreational use of AVCs can cause both short and long-term adverse health effects, including impaired memory, slurred speech, impaired vision, and seizure, as well as permanent loss of muscle control, tremors, nerve damage, and death.  AVCs are frequently the first consciousness-altering substances abused by children.

7.  How do I obtain an application for an AVC Permit?

You may submit an online application and filing fee via the Texas.gov service. For further information on using Texas.gov to obtain your AVC Permit, see the most frequently asked questions about the AVC permit program via Texas.gov.

You may also download the AVC Permit application form as either a Microsoft Word file or a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file   (53KB) from this Web site. If you don’t have Internet access, you may request that the AVC Permit Program mail you a hard copy application form by contacting the Program via email to the AVC Permit Program or by telephone at (512) 834-6603.

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8.  What is the cost of the permit?

For each individual retail location, you will be required to pay a $59.00 permit filing fee. If you are mailing in your application, you may pay the fee by check or money order made payable to: DSHS AVC Permit Program ZZ109 125. If you are applying for multiple AVC permits, you may pay the fees for all permits via a single check or money order, made payable for the total amount of all the fees.

If you are obtaining your AVC Permit through the Texas.gov service, you will be able to pay the $59.00 filing fee for each facility location by credit/debit card or by an electronic bank funds transfer.

9.  What is the term of the AVC Permit?

The term of an AVC Permit is two years. The two-year term for AVC Permits was implemented through an AVC rules change, which became effective on January 1, 2005.

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10.  What is the fastest way to obtain a new or renewal AVC Permit?

The most time-efficient way to obtain a new or renewal AVC Permit is to submit an online application via Texas.gov.  For more information, you may refer to either "Applying for a New AVC Permit Using Texas.gov" or "Renewing an Existing AVC Permit Using Texas.gov" on this Web site.

11.  If I am submitting an AVC Permit application by mail, where do I send my application and permit filing fee?

The completed AVC Permit application form and the check or money order for the filing fee payment should be mailed to:

Cash Receipts Branch – MC 2003
Texas Department of State Health Services
Abusable Volatile Chemical Permit Program ZZ109 125
PO Box 149347
Austin, Texas, 78714-9347

or

Cash Receipts Branch – MC 2003
Texas Department of State Health Services
Abusable Volatile Chemical Permit Program ZZ109 125
1100 W 49th St
Austin TX  78756

If you are submitting your application for an AVC Permit via the Texas.gov service, your application information and verification of fee payment will be sent to the AVC Permit Program in electronic format.

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12.  How do I obtain an AVC Warning Sign?

Download the AVC Warning Sign. It is only available in PDF format and must not be altered.  You may also request hard copies of the AVC Warning Sign by contacting the AVC Permit Program by telephone at (512) 834-6603 or via email to the AVC Permit Program .

13.  Does every retail business in Texas have to obtain an AVC Permit?

No.  Only retail businesses that sell AVC products to consumers are required to obtain the AVC Permit.  If the owner or operator of a retail business chooses not to purchase and sell AVC products, then no AVC Permit is required.  However, it is very important for owners and/or operators of such retail businesses to monitor their inventory throughout the year to ensure that nitrous oxide and other AVC products are not being sold in their stores.  If they find an AVC product in their inventory, they must discontinue the sale of that product immediately and either dispose of the product or apply for an AVC Permit.  AVC items that are removed from the shelf may not be sold to consumers at regular or discounted prices.

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14.  How do I renew the AVC Permit?

DSHS sends out renewal notices approximately 60 days in advance of the permit expiration date.  Renewal notices are sent to the current mailing address on record for each permitted facility, so it is important to notify the AVC Permit Program if you change your mailing address. After the renewal notice has been received, the business may choose either of the following options to renew the AVC Permit:

  • Renewing online:AVC Permits may be renewed via the Texas.gov webpage. Please note that you can only use Texas.gov to renew if your AVC Permit is active and is within 45 days of its expiration date. If you choose this option, your permit filing fees must be paid by either credit or debit card or via electronic bank funds transfer (electronic check). For more information on renewing your AVC Permit online, go to "Renewing an Existing AVC Permit Using Texas.gov."
  • Renewing by mail: Complete the renewal form (enter the Tax ID and telephone number / sign and date an affirmation statement). This form and the filing fee payment (paid by check or money order).
  • Please note that mailing the renewal form and fee payment via overnight mail may actually slow down the processing of your renewal, since overnight mail payments are routed through the agency’s Fiscal division. Returning the form and fee payment sent by first class mail, is the best way to ensure that your mailed-in renewal will be processed in the most efficient manner.

15.  What should I do if I did not receive my renewal from the AVC Permit Program?

If you do not receive your renewal notice, you should take one of the following actions:

  • Renew Online:  If your AVC Permit is still active and is within 45 days of the Permit Expiration Date, you may renew through Texas.gov.  For information on online renewals, go to "Renewing an Existing AVC Permit Using Texas.gov."
  • Obtain a Duplicate Renewal Notice: If your permit is still active, or if your permit has been expired for less than 60 days, then you may contact the AVC Permit Program by telephone at (512) 834-6603 or via email at the   AVC Permit Program and request that the Program send you a duplicate renewal notice. Please note that the Program can email the renewal notice, on request.
  • Download an AVC Application from the Website: If your permit is still active, or if your permit has been expired for less than 60 days, you may download and print the AVC Permit application, mark it as a “Renewal,” and return the completed application and filing fee payment to the AVC Permit Program.

Please note: It is the responsibility of the permit holder to keep the AVC Permit Program informed of their current mailing address and to renew the permit in a timely manner, whether or not the permit holder has received the renewal notification from the Program.

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16.  What should I do if my AVC Permit has expired and it is now more than 60 days after the Permit Expiration Date?

If your AVC Permit is expired and more than 60 days have passed since its expiration date, then you will need to apply for a new AVC Permit, using one of the following procedures:

You may submit an online application and filing fee via the Texas.gov service. For further information on using Texas.gov to obtain your AVC Permit, see the most frequently asked questions about the AVC permit program via Texas.gov.

You may also download the AVC Permit application form as either a Microsoft Word file or a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file from this website.  If you don’t have Internet access, you may request that the AVC Permit Program mail you a hard copy application form by contacting the Program by telephone at (512) 834-6603 or via email to the AVC Permit Program .

If your previous permit is expired and more than 60 days have passed since its expiration date, then be sure to mark the AVC Permit application form as an application for a “new permit.”

17.  What can I do if I cannot find the current AVC Permit for my facility?

You may contact the AVC Permit Program by telephone at (512) 834-6603 or via email to the AVC Permit Program , to request a copy of your facility’s permit.  You should receive the copy of the permit within 10 days of the Program’s receipt of your request.  Keep in mind that you cannot sell AVC Products until you have obtained a copy of the permit.

If your facility is under a parent company that files for new and renewal AVC Permits for all of its locations, then you will probably want to contact your parent company corporate office to obtain a copy of the permit for your facility, because this is usually the fastest way to obtain a copy of a missing permit.  The majority of the parent companies doing business with the AVC Permit Program prefer that requests for copies of permits be routed through the parent company corporate office, as this action enables them to track the status of all their permits.

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18.  What happens to my AVC Permit if I sell or move my business?

An AVC Permit cannot be transferred to a new location or a new owner.  Therefore, if you sell your business, and the new owner is planning to sell AVC products, then the new owner will be responsible for applying for a new AVC Permit for the business and paying the $59.00 permit filing fee.

If you are moving your business from the physical address listed on the AVC Permit to a new physical address, then you will need to apply for a new AVC Permit for the new location and you will be required to pay the $59.00 permit filing fee for a new two-year permit.

19.  If my business ceases to sell AVC products and I already have an AVC Permit, will I get a refund for the period of time left on the two-year permit ?

No, the AVC Permit Program cannot refund any portion of a permit filing fee once the permit has been issued.  The permit filing fee is charged to cover the agency’s costs of administering the program.

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20.  How can I determine if the AVC Permit Program has received and deposited my permit filing fee?

If you are paying your permit filing fee through the Texas.gov system, then you will be able to print a Receipt Page that confirms that you have made the fee payment by either credit/debit card or electronic check.

If you are paying your permit filing fee for renewal of an existing permit by mailing in a check or money order. If you have paid your fee by check your canceled check will have a six digit number stamped on the front, which will serve as proof of receipt and deposit of the fee payment.  Unfortunately, if you send a money order with the renewal form, you will not receive proof of receipt or deposit.

If you are paying your permit filing fee for either a new or renewal permit, and the fee is mailed to the AVC Permit Program address provided in the answer to Question #9 above, then your check or money order will be routed to the DSHS Fiscal Division for processing and deposit.  The Fiscal Division will stamp all checks received with a remittance number and this number stamp will be your proof (on the canceled check) that the fee payment was received and deposited.  Again, if you pay your permit fee via a money order, you will not receive proof of receipt or deposit.

As you can see from the statements above, the AVC Permit Program does not actually handle the checks or money orders received for the permit fee payments, so the Program cannot trace fee payments until the Program receives the remittance record of the payment.  Remittance records are not generated until the Fiscal Division have processed and deposited the fee payments, so there is always a period of time that will elapse between the time that your envelope is received at the DSHS Fiscal Division and when the remittance records are delivered to the AVC Permit Program.  This is one reason that it is very important to renew your AVC Permit in a timely manner.  The AVC Permit Program recommends that you renew your permit at least 30 days in advance of the permit expiration date.

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Last updated June 16, 2011