\"National Anaphylaxis Prevention Bill\"

Posted on: Fri, 08/18/2006 - 7:33am
Laura Duke's picture
Joined: 01/26/2006 - 09:00

Dear PA Network Members:

I received an email from another Mother who has a child with a severe peanut allergy. This parent was telling me about Aquafresh Kids Toothpaste having trace amounts of peanuts in it. What alarmed me the most is what she told me next. That GlaxoSmithKline does not have to put any kind of "ALLERGY WARNING" on any product that isn't food...? I called GlaxoSmithKline on Thursday 08/03/2006 and advised them of my concerns regarding the allegation of Aquafresh Kids Toothpaste being contaminated with some form of peanut or nut oil and this product not being properly labeled with an "Allergy Warning!" I was told that GlaxoSmithKline has received numerous phone calls regarding this issue and I was told that they tested all of the Aquafresh Toothpaste products and everything came out fine and did not show any trace amounts or contamination from peanuts. However, the lady I spoke with couldn't promise me that the Aquafresh Kids Toothpaste wasn't contaminated with some form of nuts and she told me that they aren't promising that Aquafresh Kids is Peanut FREE either. This is scary and if there is a chance that a product could be contaminated with peanuts, nuts or other known allergens it should have an "ALLERGY WARNING" label! There should not be any exceptions for any companies regardless if the product is food or not! Companies should want to label their product especially if it could make someone extremely sick or kill them...? Brentson and I both are allergic to peanuts and nuts! What concerned me the most is that these companies aren't regulated by the FDA to put an "Allergy Warning" label on their products due to these products are not food. There has got to be something done to make all companies put "Allergy Warning" labels on all products that might contain any and all known allergens. Regardless if the product is shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair spray, lotion, etc. Last weekend Brentson and I went to Walgreen's and I found some lip gloss that had almond oil in it and an eyeliner pencil with peanut oil in it. This has made me start reading all of the ingredients, of every single product that we buy regardless if it is food or not. Our peanut and nut allergies are airborne. Therefore, we do not have to eat the product to go into anaphylactic shock. The key to living with a severe anaphylaxis allergy is strict avoidance, but if these companies are not informing the consumers that their product could contain known allergens, someone may die. I would like to ask if you would please draft a bill and propose legislation to help protect everyone in the United States from the normal daily products that you would have thought were safe, but they are not. I am hoping and praying that this will help save lives!

Laura Duke

My response from Senator Finney:

I am pleased that Senator Frist is considering legislation to enact a national anaphylaxis prevention bill in the Congress. The number of schoolchildren who are allergic to peanuts and other foods is frightening. I visit elementary schools in my "free time" to discuss legislation and civics. Many of the classroom doors are posted with a food allergy warning placard. These children are handicapped, to the extent that they must always have resuscitative materials (epinephrine, for example) immediately at hand. They are limited in their activities (no airline travel, no trips to the ball park, etc.).

There is no known way to de-sensitize anyone with this type of allergy. Seemingly trivial exposure to peanut "dust" could cause death within minutes.

While a federal school policy needs to be in place, there are other issues that should be addressed. Family members of allergic children have expressed concern to me about other issues, such as:

** The refusal of airlines to change to safe snacks. Airlines refuse to remove peanut snacks in exchange for a safer snack (pretzels). It is not acceptable just to avoid serving an allergic child a bag of peanuts. Someone opening a bag several rows away may send enough peanut "dust" into the air to precipitate anaphylaxis. No one wants to resuscitate a child with anaphylaxis, while in an airplane cabin at 30,000 feet and perhaps an hour away from a hospital.

** The refusal of manufacturers to disclose the presence of potentially dangerous oils or other products derived from peanuts or other foods in non-food items (cosmetics, tooth paste, etc.).

I urge Senator Frist to work toward a strict law to reduce the risk of school children from experiencing anaphylaxis in our schools. I further urge him to make the bill more comprehensive, though, and extend protection for persons with these life-threatening allergies to airline travel and labeling of non-food items. FAAN may assist in better definition of the components of a comprehensive bill. I believe FAAN can provide you with the statistics you seek.

If I may help you in any way, please contact me.

Respectfully yours,

Raymond Finney
State Senator
Eighth Senatorial District (Blount and Sevier Counties)

Please contact your own U.S. Senators and ask them to contact Senator Bill Frist regarding supporting and signing onto "National Anaphylaxis Prevention Bill."

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