Airline uniforms causing health problems, flight attendants say
KOB.com Web Staff
September 29, 2017 06:29 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- From dealing with terror threats to unruly passengers and overcrowded planes, airline crews do a dangerous job at times. But a simple uniform is said to be putting American Airlines employees in even more danger.
KOB news producer Hawker Vanguard, who's also an American Airlines flight attendant, said that his uniform made him too sick to fly. His aviation career hit some turbulence last year.
"After we got new uniforms about exactly a year ago, I started to become ill, along with many other pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents," he said.
Vanguard said it made him so sick, he could no longer fly.
"I started having welts on my skin," he said. "From there, I started with this flu that would not go away."
Many of his co-workers started to wonder what was going on. Vanguard said it wasn't until employees started comparing stories that they found a common thread.
About a month after employees started complaining, the company offered an alternative: wear something you buy on your own, wear your old uniform, or wear an alternative grey one made by Aramark. For most, that just wasn't going to fly.
"So I went out and bought a suit at the department store, wore it on a couple trips and still had the same exact reactions," he said. "… It's because once you're exposed to chemicals like formaldehyde that has been shown to be in the fabric, you're sensitized -- which means even if another crew member was wearing it, I would still have a reaction from being around them."
Those proximity reactions keep Vanguard and so many others from taking advantage of those alternative uniform options. The long-term solution offered by the company: a new uniform in three years with a different vendor.
"I'm still pushing for a medical leave," he said. "Every time they call me for a trip, I'm calling out sick."
That might be a little too late for the men and women of the world's largest airline.
KOB.com Web Staff
Updated: September 29, 2017 06:29 AM
Created: September 28, 2017 06:00 PM
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