A group of more than 100 American Airlines flight attendants have filed suit against uniform maker Twin Hill and its parent company Tailored Brands.
The flight attendants claim their Twin Hill uniforms have caused them severe health problems.
According to several American Airlines flight attendants who have spoken with Business Insider, symptoms include extreme respiratory distress, nausea, headaches, cognitive issues, and full-body rashes. Extreme cases have even seen at least one instance of heavy metal poisoning.
This has forced some of the affected flight attendants to put their careers on hold to seek medical attention.
The lawsuit, filed in California, claims that the fabric used in Twin Hill uniforms is “dangerously defective” therefore creating an unreasonable risk for people who are exposed to them.
The flight attendants and their lawyers claim the chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, cobalt, cadmium, captafol, chromium, copper, nickel, antimony, benzyl benzoate, hexyl cinnamic aldehyde, and benzaldehyde have been detected in the fabric.
Since September 2016, several thousand American Airlines flight attendants, ground staff, and pilots have reported suffering from a variety of illnesses since being issued new uniforms made by Twin Hill. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants claims it has received notice of more than 3,500 cases of suspected health reactions.
American Airlines was not immediately available for comment. However, American Airlines announced, in June, that it will drop Twin Hill as its uniform supplier, but new uniforms are not expected to be ready until 2020.
In a statement to Business Insider, a Twin Hill spokesman defended his company’s products and safety record:
“We are confident that any new lawsuit filed by American Airlines employees regarding our uniforms is without merit. Despite the allegations being made in the media, absolutely no evidence has been presented linking reported symptoms to our uniforms. Furthermore, all the scientific testing that has been performed to date clearly demonstrates that the products that we are continuing to deliver under our contract with American are safe and fit for their intended purpose.
The extensive uniform testing we have provided American was conducted by industry-leading, independent global laboratories — in sharp contrast to the anecdotal claims, speculation, discredited scientific arguments and leaps of logic we are seeing from certain American employees and union representatives to date.
In fact, we would note again that when presented with similar complaints from Alaska Airlines flight attendants, a California superior court issued a conclusive ruling that our uniforms could not have been the cause of the alleged symptoms. This ruling was based not only on findings by a federal investigative agency but also on four full years of legal discovery, including testing by five separate labs, the collection of hundreds of thousands of pages of medical records from more than 445 doctors and medical facilities, and the testimony of four separate experts.
Twin Hill continues to stand behind our products, which are worn without issue by the vast majority of American employees as well as millions of people around the world each day, and will vigorously contest any lawsuits arising from baseless claims against us.”