SEMA eNews Vol. 21, No. 40, October 4, 2018

Federal Legislation Seeks EPA Study on Whether State Oversight of Automotive-Grade Nitrous Is Sufficient to Prevent Substance Abuse

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

U.S. Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) introduced a bill that directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study current state regulatory requirements on how nitrous oxide is manufactured and sold for use in automotive applications. H.R. 7007, the “Myles Edward Scott Act,” requires the EPA, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Food and Drug Administration, to then make recommendations for any federal requirements needed to protect human health and safety.

Automotive-grade nitrous oxide is the industry standard for racing nitrous oxide. It contains at least 100 ppm of sulfur dioxide to make the nitrous pungent to help deter illegal use as an inhalant. The additive does not affect performance or significantly increase the manufacturing cost of nitrous-oxide products.

Florida and Georgia have specific laws that require only automotive-grade nitrous be used for motorsports. Some states have age restrictions (18 or 21 years old) on sales, and may require presentation of a valid ID at time of purchase. Other states have “intent” provisions that make it illegal to sell nitrous if the seller suspects it will be used to cause intoxication, euphoria or other dulling of the senses or nervous system. A couple of states require shops that sell nitrous oxide keep receipts or obtain a signed disclosure form of any person who has bought the gas.

Given that the current session of the U.S. Congress is ending, it is unlikely the bill will be enacted into law this year. Nevertheless, the legislation may be reintroduced next year when there is more time for Congress to consider the bill. 

Your comments and feedback are welcomed and may be directed to Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org. For example, would it be useful to have a national standard? 

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