Vox.com reported in July that more flight attendants complained they were getting sick from their new Passport Plum uniforms. They filed a lawsuit against Lands’ End, the manufacturer of the uniforms, in May.
According to the article, employees reported migraines, vomiting and shortness of breath. I represent 463+ Delta employees who say their new uniforms are toxic and making them sick. They have additional health problems including terrible rashes, hair loss, blurred vision, weakened immune systems and ear, nose and throat irritation.
We are currently investigating what chemicals are in the uniforms that could be making them sick. We are researching the identity, number and prevalence of the chemicals. Designed by Zac Posen, Delta unveiled the Passport Plum uniforms in May 2018 with much fanfare.
Delta Isn’t Alone
This isn’t the first time uniforms may have made airline employees sick. According to Vox, in 2010 and 2011, Alaska Airlines flight attendants reported rashes, eye irritation, blisters and hives stemming from new uniforms manufactured by Twin Hill. After filing a lawsuit against Twin Hill, the airline recalled the uniforms. Ultimately, the court sided with Twin Hills, finding there was not enough evidence to support the uniforms caused the injuries.
American Airlines employees filed a lawsuit against Twin Hill in September 2017 alleging their new uniforms – which they began wearing in 2016 – caused blisters, rashes, open sores and swelling, to name a few. It is now a class-action lawsuit.
What’s Causing Symptoms?
Delta’s new uniforms contain chemical additives and finishes that make them wrinkle-free, stain resistant and waterproof, according to information supplied by Delta and its employees.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that has been used to make clothes wrinkle-free since the 1950’s. It can cause skin, eye and respiratory symptoms.
Another possible cause of symptoms the story referenced is dyes used on synthetic fabrics – nylon, polyester and acrylic – that don’t hold onto dye as well as plant-based fibers such as cotton. That means sometimes, dye could leach into the skin. Exposure to a combination of irritants – such as formaldehyde, dyes and other additives – could create an irritant response.
Other factors researchers are considering that may contribute to a reaction include the closed environment of as plane working long hours, lengthy duration of actual wear – whereby there may be “accumulative exposure” to a substance – as well as sweating, as the job of a flight attendant is physically demanding.
According to Vox, Delta says fewer than one percent of employees wearing the new uniforms have reported problems with them. The number of employees contacting our office and those active on a private Facebook page dedicated to the issue greatly exceeds that amount.
Delta employees need answers. We are continuing to investigate what is causing their symptoms. If you are a Delta employee experiencing a reaction to your uniform, consider contacting me at (904) 632-2424.