Food Allergy Awareness & Increasing Access to Epinephrine

May 13, 2019

I am supporting a measure to increase access to life-saving epinephrine auto injectors and working to raise awareness of food allergies for the 21st annual Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 12-18. One of my top priorities is supporting measures that raise awareness and address the growing public health concern of life-threatening food allergies.

A recent study revealed that 32 million Americans, more than double what we previously believed, are living with food allergies. Not just a childhood disease, allergies are now affecting an estimated 26 million adults,” Rep. Comey said. “This growth reinforces that this is a problem of epidemic proportions and we must do everything we can to save lives and help sufferers manage allergies to avoid emergency situations.”

Senate Bill 706, An Act Concerning Epinephrine Auto Injectors, includes various measures to increase access to epinephrine​ in order to put more of the devices in the hands of people that can administer an injection in case of an emergency.

“In 2017, epinephrine cost the state insurance plan nearly $6 million dollars not including hospitalizations, the privately insured or medical appointments,” Rep. Comey said. “We know the cost of food allergies is burdening more than just the families dealing with them, it’s burdening our schools, our health-care system and our economy.”

Epinephrine devices are increasingly moving from within school buildings to public venues including theme parks, restaurants, sports arenas and daycare centers. With passage and signing of Senate Bill #706, Connecticut will join thirty-four states that have passed legislation that permit public venues to maintain an epinephrine auto-injector for quickly administering to someone having a sudden anaphylactic reaction.

The food allergy community in Connecticut is working to expand awareness by partnering with The Food Allergy Research & Education's (FARE) Turn It Teal program, whose mission is to raise awareness by encouraging communities to display the color teal on prominent land marks. Last year, the organization was able to get over 60 landmarks across the United States, Canada, Australia, London, and Jordan, including Niagara Falls.

“I asked Aetna Insurance to illuminate their sign as a way for Connecticut to participate in the Turn it Teal project during awareness week and I am thankful to them for willing to do so,” Rep. Comey said. “There is no cure for food allergies, but awareness and education can greatly contribute to managing the condition. And if that fails, a timely injection of epinephrine to an individual suffering anaphylactic shock from a reaction could mean the difference between life and death.”

This year, Governor Lamont has been asked to provide a Proclamation declaring May 12-18 Food Allergy Awareness week. To learn more about this important issue, visit

Robin Comey represents the 102nd Assembly District in Branford. In addition to Vice-Chair of the Committee on Children, she serves on the Education and Public Health Committees.