She’s speaking out to help other sick co-workers.
When my client, 54-year-old Dana Smith became an empty nester, she decided to get a job as a Delta flight attendant. Within six weeks after she took to the skies, Delta launched its new Passport Plum uniforms with much fanfare. That’s when Dana’s health problems began. She is part of a proposed class action lawsuit I recently filed against Lands’ End over the safety of the new uniforms.
Three months after donning the new uniform, Dana started developing small rashes around her neck and torso. The small bumps would go away. Then things became worse; she developed a full-blown body rash. Dana was having a reaction to her new uniform, the Passport Plum signature dress manufactured by Lands’ End.
Rash & Hair Loss
In September 2018, Dana had a full body rash – her shoulders, back, arms, legs, neck and chest – broke out in a bumpy, red, itchy rash. Contact with her uniform made it worse. The rash eventually got so bad, she would itch while sleeping at night, causing her sheets to become bloody. Dana developed scabs and sores from the itching that eventually turned into scars.
Treated by her physician with steroids for more than six months to reduce the inflammation, she gained 20 pounds. After exposure to these chemicals, Dana developed another rash and her scalp psoriasis flared. She developed a staph and strep infection and lost 70% of her hair. Our class action lawsuit alleges the toxic chemicals in Dana’s uniform are to blame.
Chemical Additives & Finishes
At issue: Lands’ End manufactured the uniforms with chemical additives and finishes to make them high-stretch, wrinkle and stain-resistant, waterproof, anti-static and deodorizing. Our lab testing found heavy metals and chemicals in the uniforms that were in far excess of industry-accepted safe levels for clothing. Chromium, antimony, mercury, formaldehyde, fluorine and bromine were found. All are known to cause signification reactions and personal harm.
The proposed class action lawsuit against Lands’ End contends that since the new uniforms debuted in May 2018, employees have experienced a wide range of health problems. In addition to rashes and hair loss, they’ve had boils, skin blisters, eczema, respiratory distress, breathing difficulties, vocal cord dysfunction, blurred vision, nosebleeds, migraines and fatigue among others. Some flight attendants’ symptoms were so bad, they were forced to leave their flights mid-trip in order to seek emergency medical care. Our investigation found that adverse reactions to the uniforms resulted in a substantial increase in absences and grounding of Delta employees.
Employees experiencing reactions to the uniforms, such as Dana, did not have these symptoms prior to wearing the new uniforms. It was only after wearing the Passport Plum Lands’ End uniforms that their symptoms appeared and for many, still persist today.
Dana hasn’t worked for Delta in months and says the previous toxic exposure to the additives in the uniform affects her daily life. She gets reoccurring rashes. Sweating exacerbates the itching. When she has a rash, she doesn’t like to go outside when it’s hot, she doesn’t garden and has missed social functions. She’s so sensitized to certain chemicals that it’s difficult to try on clothing at department stores without itching.
The combination of the additives and finishes in the new Delta uniforms, which arguably have an allergic and sensitizing effect on the human body, even if several of those additives and finishes are relatively safe in their individual respective quantities.
Dana is speaking out because she’s concerned about her co-workers, some of whom are also getting sick from the uniforms. She wants the uniforms recalled and for Delta and Lands’ End to do more testing to figure out what’s causing the reactions.
Unfortunately, once employees are exposed to a certain degree of these heavy metals and chemicals, they can become sensitized to them. That means merely being close to an offending uniform could set off adverse reactions. In Dana’s case, she switched to an alternative uniform of black and white clothing. Despite wearing an alternative uniform, she experienced secondary reactions from being near her co-workers wearing the new uniforms. While sitting next to a flight attendant, Dana developed a migraine, burning eyes and a rash. She worries about the health of passengers with compromised immune systems who may have reactions to employees’ uniforms.
These uniforms are very hazardous and put employees’ health at risk. Our lawsuit calls on Lands’ End to recall them and create a monitoring program to help employees diagnose and treat health problems caused by the uniforms.
According to an article on the pointsguy.com, Delta announced recently that it’s going to update its employee uniforms as soon as late next year. The move is in response to employees’ complaints about health issues and other concerns related to the new uniforms. This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. The uniforms need to be recalled immediately. They are contaminated and making employees sick.
We Can Help
At Terrell • Hogan, we represent people injured by defective and dangerous products, including toxic uniforms. We can investigate what caused your injuries in order to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Delta employees experiencing a reaction to their uniforms may contact me for a free case evaluation.