Health and Fitness

Senators Kirk, Durbin Bill to Protect School Children with Allergies Passes United States Senate

Bill now goes to the President for his signature


WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–October 31, 2013.  U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) celebrated Senate passage today of their bipartisan legislation to encourage schools across the country to maintain access to critical life-saving medication for children with food and other allergies. The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act will encourage states across the nation to improve school access to epinephrine auto-injectors to be used if students have life threatening systemic allergic reactions. The measure – which was approved by the House of Representatives in July – was passed out of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) yesterday, and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Seven years ago, I met the Bunning family of Lake Forest – parents who have two children with severe food allergies,” Senator Kirk said. “After our meeting, I made it my mission to pass legislation that would help the millions of kids across the US who have severe food allergies. The Senate’s passage of our bill today means that we are a step closer to easing the minds of parents who send their kids with allergies to school and encouraging safe administration of epinephrine. I am proud to work with Senator Durbin to pass this life-saving legislation, and I look forward to it being signed into law.”

“For about 1 in every 13 of American children, school lunchtime or a classmate’s birthday party can risk exposure to foods that can cause a severe and life threatening reaction. But the fatal consequences of severe allergic reaction are preventable,” said Durbin. “Today, the Senate voted to help ensure that schools across the country are prepared to help avoid such tragedies. I thank Senator Kirk for being my partner in this effort to ensure that we are taking every appropriate step to protect kids in their schools.”

In 2011, the State of Illinois passed a law that allows schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine on site and for school nurses to administer epinephrine to any student suffering from a severe allergic reaction. The legislation proposed by Senator Kirk and Senator Durbin would expand on the Illinois law by allowing states to designate which school personnel can administer the epinephrine in an emergency. The new legislation would reward states that require schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine.

Although students with severe allergies are currently allowed to self-administer epinephrine if they have a serious allergic reaction, a quarter of anaphylaxis cases at schools involve young people with no previous allergy who are unlikely to carry a personal epinephrine auto-injector. In 2001, a study found that 28 percent of school-aged children who died due to an allergic reaction, died at school where epinephrine was either not administered or was administered too late.

The legislation is co-sponsored by: Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Max Baucus (D-MT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Al Franken (D-MN) Kay Hagan (D-NC), Edward Markey (D-MA), Robert Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tim Scott (R-SC), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act is also supported by the Food Allergy Research and Education, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics.