American Airlines Flight Attendants and Pilots Complain of Uniform-Related Illnesses
American Airlines flight attendants and pilots are alleging that their uniforms are sickening them due to chemicals in the uniforms.
One American Airlines flight attendant told The New York Post that her uniform may look “sexy” but it is making her sick. She is an American Airline crewmember who has been blogging about the effects the American Airlines-issued uniform policy has had on her health in recent months. The flight attendant has hypothyroidism and alleges that her flight attendant outfit has had adverse effects on her condition, causing health reactions from what she described as “chemicals” in the uniform. “I get sick every time I go to work,” she wrote. “Every time I go to work I feel terrible.”
The attendant also told The New York Post that other employees reported health issues, including respiratory ailments and fertility problems since American Airlines released the new uniforms in September. She also claimed flight attendants from other airlines have reported thyroid issues from uniforms made by the same manufacturer. “Many of my co-workers … don’t believe it’s the uniform,” she wrote. “It’s kind of crazy to think your clothes could be poisoning you,” she wrote.
It seems that American Airlines pilots have complained about health issues also believed to be due to chemicals in their uniforms. According to The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), more than 3,000 members have filed complaints about the new uniforms, The New York Post reported.
The attendant pointed out that her health is not the only cause for worry regarding her uniform and that she is being victimized by so-called “internet trolls” who do not believe that her uniform has led to health issues. “Over the last nine months, I was called ‘psycho’ and ‘crazy,’” she wrote. “Because the sexy stereotype won’t die, nobody cares when we have something serious to discuss.” She also noted that, when she stopped wearing the uniform, choosing instead to wear similar clothing, that her health issues have not gone away and says that simply being around her co-workers in uniform has affected her health, even leading to a trip to the hospital emergency room. “Let the record state that I can’t prove that any of my health problems are, in fact, caused by my wearing the uniform,” she wrote. “I dread going to work. I love my job, but my job is making me sick,” she wrote, according to The New York Post.
According to Bloomberg.com, approximately 100 crewmembers have complained about skin problems, itching, and other symptoms. The reports prompted an aviation union to plan a survey about the new outfits. “They have to be fit for duty,” Allied Pilots Association (APA) spokesman, Dennis Tajer, told Bloomberg.com. “If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.” The APA will be obtaining pilot feedback on the uniforms.
To date, American Airlines has refused to recall the clothing after distributing 1.5 million pieces to 70,000 employees in its first major uniform change in 30 years. Also, while the APA indicates that more than 3,000 of its members have filed complaints about the new uniforms, American Airlines indicates that it has received just 800 complaints and four of those were from pilots, according to The New York Post.
Parker Waichman LLP personal injury attorneys represent numerous clients who have allegedly been injured due to defective products. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals who have questions about pursuing a case.
Despite Growing Illnesses, No Recall, No Cause Determined
Twin Hill, a unit of Tailored Brands Inc., which supplied the new uniforms, noted that it has not yet discovered “any medical or scientific evidence indicating there is anything unsafe about the uniforms.” Town Hill also indicated that, “Once we learned of the APFA’s concerns, we engaged an independent and accredited laboratory, TUV Rheinland, to perform extensive tests on random samples of every fabric used in the entire collection, which is actually comprised of more than 100 different garments and is sourced and manufactured throughout the world,” a representative of the company told The New York Post in a statement. “Though each garment style incorporates a different variety of fabrics and other materials in its construction, the results of every test revealed that the uniforms did not contain any prohibited chemicals and were at or below the established limits for those chemicals commonly utilized in garment manufacturing.”
American has offered its staff several options, including that it could get another supplier for flight attendants and customer-service agents; it would provide pilots non-wool and cotton versions from Twin Hill, it would allow employees to wear older uniforms, and it would continue to look into other options, said Defeo.
Meanwhile, some pilots became so sick that they were unable to fly, Tajer said, and others discovered they had symptoms only when they were wearing the uniforms. “We don’t know what we’re going to find out,” he said. “It’s certainly not the same numbers as the flight attendants, but there is some real concern that there’s a bigger problem out there,” he noted, according to The New York Post.
Most recently, Forbes reported that, although American Airlines did not acknowledge any employee claims concerning the alleged health impacts of its uniforms, American Airlines advised its employees that it will locate another vendor to provide clothing to its 70,000 pilots, flight attendants, and ground agents. Meanwhile, workers are not pleased, as they will have to wear the newer garments for three more years.
APFA, the flight attendants union, conducted tests on the garments but was unable to determine what was causing the issues; however, one chemical found in a shirt was higher than the acceptable textile certification standard. Flight attendants began posting photographs of themselves on a closed Facebook page with 8,000 members dedicated to getting the uniform recalled, according to Forbes.
Bloomberg.com reported that American Airlines pilots will be surveyed about reactions to the new uniforms following 100 reported rashes, itching and, other symptoms similar to what has been experienced by hundreds of flight attendants. Some aviators said they suffered from red, swollen eyes and a general ill feeling, according to Tajer. The union plans to ask members for feedback on reactions. “They have to be fit for duty,” Tajer said in an interview. “If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.” He added, “We don’t know what we’re going to find out…. It’s certainly not the same numbers as the flight attendants, but there is some real concern that there’s a bigger problem out there.”
Legal Help for American Airline Staff
Parker Waichman has years of experience representing clients in numerous defective product lawsuits. If you or someone you know is suffering adverse health reactions believed to be associated with the new American Airlines uniforms, you may have valuable legal rights. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).