Heather Poole has been a flight attendant aboard American Airlines flights for 20 years, yet recently she started feeling seriously ill after the airline’s management issued new crew uniforms.
Poole decided to start documenting her declining health by blogging about the illness her uniform is allegedly causing to her body. Heather says the new suits were issued in September last year, and she has since been seeing “more doctors than I’ve ever seen in my life.”
According to Poole, she has also been learning a great deal about various types of toxic chemicals that are used in the manufacturing of clothing.
“Before the new uniform I didn’t know what ‘sensitizers’ were or what ‘synergy’ meant, and I sure as heck would have never dreamed I’d develop ‘MCS’ (multiple chemical sensitivity). Now I’m practically an expert on the subject.”
Although Poole suffers from hyperthyroidism, she claims that the American Airlines uniform has only made her feel even sicker.
“I get sick every time I go to work. Every time I go to work I feel terrible.”
The cabin crew veteran believes that American Airlines workers are being slowly poisoned. “It’s kind of crazy to think your clothes could be poisoning you,” she says.
Roughly 1,500,000 new uniforms were issued to 70,000 American Airlines employees. The old navy blue look has been scrapped and replaced with clay gray colors. Poole says this is the first major uniform overhaul in thirty years.
But Heather Poole is not the only American Airlines staffer that is experiencing adverse side effects from the new company suiting. According to NBC News, thousands of American Airlines flight attendants and pilots have been reporting reactions to the new fabric.
In a letter written by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants union, it is alleged that the new uniforms are resulting in a number of serious health issues. Some of the reactions mentioned are “eye swelling, rashes, skin blistering,” as well as chest wheezing, persistent headaches, and vertigo.
In response to the letter, American Airlines managers said that crew members could choose to wear their old uniforms for the time being. They were also given the option of acquiring their uniforms from a different supplier.
Additionally, American Airlines pilots have expressed concern over the poor health they are experiencing, also putting it down to potential poisoning from the chemicals in the new uniforms.
Bloomberg News reported that more than 100 pilots have reported rashes, swollen eyes, and sickness while wearing their suits.
Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association union, said that it would be dangerous for pilots to fly if they were indeed being poisoned by their uniforms. He also added that some pilots have already had to take time off work to recover from adverse symptoms.
“They have to be fit for duty. If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.”
In a strange twist of events, Heather Poole has allegedly been receiving a torrent of online abuse from people who do not believe her story about American Airlines’ new uniforms.
“Over the last nine months, I was called ‘psycho’ and ‘crazy.”
Poole thinks the reaction stems from an age-old stereotype that flight attendants are merely meant to be “sexy” women who take care of airline passengers.
Meanwhile, American Airlines executives have confirmed that uniform samples were sent to laboratories to be tested. So far no signs of toxic chemicals have been found.
Earlier this year American Airlines announced that they would be terminating their contract with a long-time supplier, Twin Hill. However, the airline insists that the decision was not based on reports of health problems following the issue of new uniforms made by Twin Hill.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]