Senators Mark Kirk, Jeanne Shaheen and Mark Warner recently proposed a bill in the U.S. Senate which could change air travel for individuals managing food allergies and for those yet undiagnosed. The Airline Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act of 2015, S. 1972, would require that air carriers clarify that the "1:1,000 epinephrine ampules" "in emergency medical kits carried on aircraft" are to treat anaphylactic reactions. Air carriers would be required to carry--at a minimum--1 set of epinephrine injectors for individuals weighing less than 66 pounds and 1 set for those weighing over 66 pounds. In addition, airlines would be required to train staff to recognize symptoms of an "acute allergic reaction" and how to use epinephrine auto-injectors. In addition, the Comptroller General would be required to submit a report to Congress on "air carrier policies for passengers with food allergies."
The bill is widely supported by food allergy organizations. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) has written a letter of support to Senators Kirk and Shaheen. AAAAI, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), Allergy & Asthma Network, the Allergy & Asthma Foundation of America and No Nut Traveler are all part of the coalition of food allergy organizations supporting the bill. The Association of Flight Attendants has also endorsed the bill.
This bill marks tremendous progress for the food allergy community. Finally, our voices have been heard on the subject of food allergy safety in airplanes. To become a law, this bill needs your support! Please take a look at the bill and read it (it is not a long read!), and write to your Senators to tell them to support S. 1972. Please share this blog post or the links in it with food allergy friends and family. Tweet and retweet! Post and share on Facebook! We need everyone's support to pass this very important bill!