Thousands of American Airlines employees sickened by new uniforms … Toxic chemicals?
More than 70,000 new uniforms released as part of a long-awaited American Airlines employee apparel reboot are the subject of a potential recall after flight attendants, pilots, customer service agents, and airline club workers reportedly began experiencing serious adverse health effects as a result of their use.
The fresh uniforms, which don a sharp slate gray, cobalt, and “crisp white” color scheme, are apparently far more appealing to the eye than they are to the skin and body, as complaints have been pouring in from airline employees who say they’re breaking out in hives, experiencing headaches, and developing rashes, among other symptoms.
American Airlines has since launched an internal investigation, surmising that the issue may have something to do with the wool fiber used in the clothing that may be triggering allergic reactions. The nation’s largest independent flight attendant union, which represents some 25,000 airline employees at American Airlines, is also conducting its own investigation on behalf of its members.
“We have received over 1,600 flight attendant reports of suspected uniform reactions that include headaches, rashes, hives, burning skin and eye irritation, itching, and respiratory problems – to name a few,” wrote the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) in an internal memo to its members.
“The growing number of reports of suspected reactions, triggered by both direct and indirect contact with the uniform, has prompted APFA to ask that all uniforms be recalled until further joint testing with the company can be completed.”