Articles for Advocacy

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Allowing Park Rangers to Administer Epi-Pens to Treat Allergic Reactions

As a direct result of Food Allergy Awareness Day NY at the end of May, Governor Andrew Cuomo has enacted S.4375/A.4652. The law authorizes Forest Rangers, Park Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers to Possess and Administer Epinephrine through an Auto-Injector Device in NYS parks. Senator James Tedisco and assembly member Angelo Santabarbara share why this law is so important in protecting individuals with life-threatening allergies at risk for anaphylaxis.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Allowing Park Rangers to Administer Epi-Pens to Treat Allergic Reactions

Govenor Andrew Cuomo signing bill

Legislation (S.4375/A.4652) Authorizes Forest Rangers, Park Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers to Possess and Administer Epinephrine through an Auto-Injector Device Legislation Signed as New York State Parks See Record Visitation in 2020

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4375/A.4652) authorizing forest rangers, park rangers and environmental conservation police officers to possess and administer epinephrine auto-injectors. Epinephrine is commonly used to treat serious allergic reactions such as bee stings, insect bites, food allergies or exercise-induced shock.

"More New Yorkers than ever are taking advantage of the natural beauty our state has to offer, but it's important to stay safe, especially if you're prone to severe allergic reactions," Governor Cuomo said. "This commonsense legislation allows a wider range of professionals in our state parks and other natural areas to use epinephrine auto-injectors and keep New Yorkers safe in the wild. This will give hikers, bikers and other outdoor travelers a greater sense of security as they navigate New York's serene natural areas."

Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, occurs in roughly one in 50 Americans. Many parks and forests in New York State are far from medical facilities, and this legislation allows professionals in state parks and forests, which are often far from medical facilities, to administer epinephrine auto-injectors to people who have allergic reactions.

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Grothman Introduces Dillon’s Law In US Congress

After their son Dillon suffered a fatal attack of anaphylaxis after being stung by a bee, Angel and George Mueller became dedicated advocates for individuals and families with life-threatening allergies. Since being enacted in Wisconsin, Dillon's Law has saved several lives; Minnesota and Indiana promptly adopted the same legislation. Now Dillon's Law has gone to Washington DC; its' introduction in Congress provides hope to all allergy activist advocates across America.

Grothman Introduces Dillon’s Law In US Congress

Dillon Mueller with tractor
Dillon Mueller
June 22, 2021

By Timothy Svoboda
Washington, DC

Congressmen Glenn Grothman (WI-06) has introduced Dillon’s Law, a bill that will incentivize states to allow “good Samaritans” to save lives. This bill will allow states to use existing federal grant money for preventative health services to be used to train individuals to carry and administer epinephrine.

The bill was inspired by Dillon Mueller, a Mishicot, WI native who tragically passed away in 2014 at the age of 18 after being stung by a bee and falling into a coma due to anaphylaxis. Dillon was unable to receive epinephrine in a timely manner.

Versions of Grothman’s bill have already been signed into law in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana with overwhelming bipartisan support. While similar legislation passed Congress in 2013 providing incentives for states to develop emergency epinephrine programs within school systems, this legislation would make epinephrine training more widely available, enabling more individuals to prevent tragedies involving anaphylaxis from occurring.

“Dillon Mueller’s passing was a tragedy,” said Grothman. "No parent should have to endure the loss of a child, and that is what Dillon’s parents, Angel and George, are working to prevent.

"This bill isn’t limited to children, however. The legislation incentivizes states to allow any properly trained individual to administer epinephrine to someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction.

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Legislature Passes Tedisco, Santabarbara Bill to Enable State Park Rangers, Park Police to Carry Epi-Pens(c) to Help Save Lives

New York State has some of the greatest parks in the nation. And as we continue to emerge from our post pandemic world, New Yorkers could be utilizing our parks in record numbers. And with park recreation comes insect and bug bites. For most these are annoyances but for some, these stings and bites could be life threatening. Fortunately, a recently passed law has given our park rangers, forest rangers and environmental police the opportunity to provide life saving epinephrine to those in need. Our association is very grateful to lawmakers and activist advocates who made passage happen. Now it's up to the Governor of New York State to sign and enact this bill as soon as possible.

Legislature Passes Tedisco, Santabarbara Bill to Enable State Park Rangers, Park Police to Carry Epi-Pens(c) to Help Save Lives

New York State Senators Tedisco and Santabarbara Celebraate EAI Bill Passage

James Tedisco
May 26, 2021

Tedisco and Santabarbara’s legislation adds park & forest rangers, environmental conservation police, who are first to respond to emergencies in parks, to long list of professionals who can treat those with severe, life-threatening allergic reactions.

In advance of the busy Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial kick-off of summer as millions of New Yorkers head outdoors to our state parks, the New York State Legislature has given final passage to a new bi-partisan law sponsored by Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C-Glenville) and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D,C-Rotterdam) to help save lives by enabling forest and state park rangers to carry EpiPens to treat people with severe allergic reactions in an emergency.

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Elijah’s Law Headway in 2 States

After the death of their three year old son, Elijah-Alavi Silvera, Thomas Silvera and his wife Dina Hawthorne-Silvera successfully spearheaded the passage of “Elijah’s Law” in their home state of New York in 2019. The law “tells early education programs in New York they must follow state food allergy guidelines and protocols to prevent, recognize and respond quickly to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.” Now Thomas and Dina are expanding their efforts to bring “Elijah’s Law” nationwide.

Learn about their efforts in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Elijah’s Law Headway in 2 States

Illinois flag (left) Pennsylvania seal (right)

Gwen Smith
April 26, 2021

In March 2021, Allergic Living reported that Illinois had introduced an Elijah’s Law bill. On April 22, the Illinois House voted unanimously in favor of the bill. Officially called the Childhood Anaphylactic Policy Act (HB0102), this legislation would require the state health department, in consultation with the board of education, to establish anaphylaxis policies and procedures for school districts and daycare settings.

Representative Jonathan Carroll, the bill’s sponsor, says the bill would add daycare centers to existing school food allergy policies currently required in Illinois, and tighten anaphylaxis training across school levels. The bill has now headed to the state Senate for consideration.

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Biden signs law that makes sesame the ninth major food allergen

Biden signs law that makes sesame the ninth major food allergen

In late April, President Biden signed into law The Food Allergy Safety,Treatment, Education and Research (Faster)Act. This bipartisan measure designates sesame as the ninth major food allergy, ramps up allergy research, and will attempt to address marked growth in certain deadly allergies. It is estimated that 1.6 million Americans have sesame allergies and the Faster Act requires clear labeling of foods containing sesame by January 2023. In addition, it requires the Department of Health and Human services “must prioritize regular reviews of promising food allergy treatments and research.”

President Joe Biden
The Faster Act, signed by President Biden, is a bipartisan effort to address an increase in certain deadly allergies.

The Faster Act will also step-up allergy research

By Laura Reiley Business of food reporter
April 23, 2021

President Biden on Friday signed into law a new measure that designates sesame as the ninth major food allergy and ramps up allergy research, enacting a bipartisan attempt to address marked growth in certain deadly allergies.

The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (Faster) Act passed the Senate in March and the House of Representatives this month. It received bipartisan support.

In the past two decades, life-threatening childhood food allergies have risen steadily, growing by about 4 percent per year to afflict 32 million Americans, according to research by Northwestern

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New Guidelines Detail Specifics and Deadline for NY's Elijah's Law

"Your voice matters, your child's voice matters, and their health matters." After a preschool ignored written and verbal instructions about his food allergies and asthma, Elijah-Alavi Affiq Thomas Silvera died in 2017. When faced with the tragedy of losing his son Elijah, Thomas Silvera embarked on a mission to help ensure that no other family would have to experience a similar tragedy. Learn more about his successful efforts to provide information and training to daycare facilities in New York and his continued work with state legislatures to spread awareness and action throughout the country.

New Guidelines Detail Specifics and Deadline for NY's Elijah's Law

Thomas Silvera (Elijah's Father) with Elijah's Law sign

By Kristen Stewart
April 12, 2021

"It shouldn't take a tragedy to create change and it shouldn't take another tragedy to create another change," said Thomas Silvera, Co-founder, President, and CEO of the Elijah-Alavi Foundation, a non-profit formed to encourage diverse social and equitable food allergy and asthma resources for schools in New York state and across the country.

The tragic death of Thomas's son, Elijah-Alavi Affiq Thomas Silvera in 2017 prompted Thomas, his family, and the Foundation to do everything in their power to prevent a similar heartbreak from happening to someone else.

Elijah died after his preschool ignored written and verbal instructions about the 3-year-old's food allergies and asthma then failed to tell his mother what he had eaten, incorrectly informed her he was having an asthma attack, and didn't call 911 or administer epinephrine.

Elijah's Law

In September, 2019 New York state passed Elijah’s Law which required the New York Health Commissioner to establish guidelines for daycare providers for the prevention of and response to anaphylaxis. These policies were supposed to be distributed in 2020 but were delayed due to Covid-19.

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Passage of FASTER Act is Critical for Food Allergy Community!

Sometimes more is better. When it comes to food labeling, if you suffer from a potentially life threatening allergy, more information isn’t just better, it could be life-saving. That is what the new legislation — the Food Allergy, Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act, H.R. 1202/S. 578 would do. Having already passed by the Senate, this legislation would improve transparency by requiring that sesame — which is commonly used in food for flavoring — be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Read here to learn more about this vital legislation.

Passage of FASTER Act is Critical for Food Allergy Community!

Line of Frozen Food Display Cases

By Lisa Gable, opinion contributor —
04/06/21
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.

In the United States, 85 million people are impacted by food allergies or intolerances, of which 32 million have a potentially life-threatening condition. Sadly, they live each day with the fear and anxiety that something they eat could turn their world upside down. Always on alert, they know that consuming the wrong food or ingredient could send them straight to the emergency room or worse, could kill them.

Fortunately, there is new legislation — the Food Allergy, Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act, H.R. 1202/S. 578, which would improve transparency and greatly benefit the food allergy community. This bipartisan legislation would require that sesame — which is commonly used in food for flavoring — be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods. Sesame would become the ninth food allergen for which the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires plain-language labeling. The bill would also require the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a report on scientific opportunities in food allergy research that examines prevention, treatment, and new cures. In addition, the legislation establishes a risk-based scientific process and framework for establishing additional allergens covered by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. With greater transparency in food labeling, this legislation will help relieve fear and anxiety and provide needed relief for the nearly 1.6 million Americans who live with a sesame allergy.

The updated FASTER Act provides a two-year window for industry to comply. I look forward to partnering with the food industry on an implementation plan to align with other changes the industry might be making as they pertain to ingredient disclosures.

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The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

One in 13 children have food allergies; that equals two kids at risk for anaphylaxis in every classroom across America. The data from the Center for Disease and Control shows that twenty-five to 30% of anaphylactic reactions occur at school without a prior diagnosis. That is why the Allergy Advocacy Association, building on the success of our past legislative efforts, is working to find new ways to promote “Teacher Training” for the administration of life-saving epinephrine in NYS Public Schools.

The Case for "Teacher Training" in NYS Public Schools

New York State Capitol with Flags and Reflecting Pool, Albany NY

By Jon Terry
18 March 2021

Greetings. Concerning life-threatening allergies and anaphylaxis, just how safe are kids in New York State public schools? What laws are currently in place to protect kids from anaphylaxis emergencies? Are there loopholes, gaps or errors in childcare at our schools that need to be corrected? While discussing these questions in this article the Allergy Advocacy Association provides context.

For the past ten years legislation requiring anaphylaxis emergency training for newly certified teachers has been an important objective for our association. This year Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal along with activist advocates have re-introduced the "Teacher Training" bill (A523 and S587), an act to amend the education law, in relation to requiring newly certified teachers to receive instruction in the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. Why is this law so important?

Stacey Saiontz is the mother of food allergic child and an activist advocate here in NY. "Children spend most of their waking hours at school in the care of their teachers," says Ms.

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Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

We know that a life-threatening allergic reaction can be fatal. We also know that when anaphylaxis strikes an epinephrine auto-injector can save a person’s life. So why after a pediatric emergency discharge were only half of the prescriptions for an epinephrine auto-injector filled by patients? A new study examines this important issue.

Just Half of Epinephrine Auto-Injector Prescriptions are Filled After Pediatric Emergency Discharge

Image of Emergency sign plus image of Injector packet

By Dave Bloom
2021/03/09

A child develops anaphylaxis and is rushed to the emergency room. At the time the child is stabilized and released, a physician writes a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) which a staffer eventually hands to the accompanying adult, sending them on their way. But how many of those prescriptions are actually filled and by whom?

A recent study published in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings aimed at measuring those fill rates while looking for racial and socioeconomic disparities.

The retrospective observational cohort study looked at records from patients discharged from a pediatric emergency department who received an outpatient prescription for an EAI between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019. The rates of filled prescriptions were calculated, and multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify sociodemographic factors associated with the process.

Of 717 patients included in the analysis, some 54.8% ultimately filled their prescription. The study found no significant associations between fill rates and patient age or sex, but in a bivariable analysis, non-Hispanic white patients were almost twice as likely to fill their prescriptions compared as

non-Hispanic black patients and patients with in-state Medicaid were significantly less likely to fill compared with those patients with private insurance. After applying multivariable adjustments, however, the researchers found no significant difference in filling by age, insurance status, race, or ethnicity.

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Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

We know any attack of anaphylaxis can might fatal. We also know that promptly administering epinephrine saves lives. A recent study found over 20% of correctly diagnosed anaphylaxis incidents in children weren’t treated with epinephrine. Why? Dr Wes Sublett, Research Director of the Family Allergy & Asthma Research Institute, provides some of the answers in the article below.

Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

Rosie-the-Riviter holding AuviQ-ChildDose package

By Dave Bloom
2021/02/02

We know that prompt administration of epinephrine as soon as anaphylaxis is suspected leads to better outcomes, but are we using it often enough when our kids react? (Hint: No, we’re not.)

“Predictors for epinephrine undertreatment have been poorly studied,” write Neta Cohen, MD, of the division of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

So Cohen and colleagues reviewed the charts of 368 children (median age, 5.4 years) who presented with anaphylaxis-like symptoms to a busy tertiary care facility emergency department (ED) in Toronto.

They determined that although 90.8% of the children were correctly diagnosed with anaphylaxis, nearly a quarter (23.7%) were not treated with epinephrine. Of those, 13 had full resolution of signs and symptoms during the ED presentation.

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Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

If you or a loved one has a food allergy, you know that dining out can be very challenging. From the listing of possible allergens to details on food preparation, accurate information can be hard to come by. It can be frustrating and possibly lethal, even though restaurants are the second most common location for a food allergy reaction, with over a quarter of those reactions requiring epinephrine. While laws vary from state to state, there is no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens or to mandate training of restaurant staff.

Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

A woman and friend in a restaurant with food

By Jenifer Goodwin
January 17, 2021

Restaurants are the second most common location for food allergy reactions after the home, a new study finds, and more than one in four of those reactions are severe enough to require epinephrine.

Yet there remains no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens in their food, or to train food preparers about food allergies and avoiding cross-contact. Although a few states have enacted their own regulations requiring food allergy safety training, these laws are not equally robust from state to state.

Allergist Dr. Thomas Casale, a co-author of the study, says the findings underscore the need to require food allergy training for staff, and for restaurants to disclose allergens on menus.

“There should be mandatory training for restaurant staff and people that prepare the food,” including education on the major allergens, communicating about food allergies, and avoiding cross-contact, says Casale, medical adviser for the non-profit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

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