Heather Poole has worked for American Airlines for a while but after Sept. 20 things began to go wrong. That was when the airlines announced its new uniform made by Twin Hill, which is part of Tailored Brands, a uniform company in Houston, Texas.
According to a Medium post by Poole, “It’s kind of crazy to think your clothes could be poisoning you.” But that’s exactly what she thinks is happening.
The crew member — who has 20 years of experience — has spent months detailing her struggle wearing the uniform at work.
“I get sick every time I go to work,” she wrote. “Every time I go to work I feel terrible.”
She’s not alone either. Hundreds of other flight attendants and customer service agents are reporting that they are becoming ill and 3,000 have filed complaints, DailyMail reported. There are even cases of pilots who were unable to fly due to the symptoms. They’re complaining of “eye swelling, rashes, skin blistering” as well as headaches, vertigo and wheezing, according to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
The thought is that the chemicals in the uniforms are the source. Poole sent her uniform to a Harvard lab that has agreed to test it to determine the toxicity of chemicals used in the fabrics.
Poole’s crusade has gone on for months, but because she’s attractive, she said people don’t think she has anything serious to say.
“Over the last nine months, I was called ‘psycho’ and ‘crazy,” she wrote of the internet trolls that have attacked her.
She did admit, however, that thus far she can’t prove that her health problems are being caused by the uniform. Tests are being done to determine if the source is in the fabric or even chemicals the clothes were sprayed with.
“I dread going to work. I love my job, but my job is making me sick,” she said.
“Since the uniform debuted on September 20, I’ve seen more doctors than I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve learned things about toxic chemicals I never knew before,” Poole wrote
It’s causing problems for the company as well. If pilots can’t fly, the company is forced to find other staff that can do it, which can backup scheduled flights.
“They have to be fit for duty,” said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. “If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.”
American Airlines has been forced to allow their staff to wear pieces of their old uniform and acquire uniforms from a different supplier. They also said that they are allowing their contract to expire with Twin Hill in 2020.