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Over 1,000 Flight Attendants Get Allergic Reactions to Wool in New Uniforms

Decmber 5, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

It’s one thing if airline passengers fall ill due to flying.  But “air sickness” may now have a totally different new meaning.

In the roughly three months since American Airlines issued new uniforms for over 70,000 flight attendants and other crewmembers, some 1,000 are reported to have gotten sick from them.

In a memo to members in early December, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the union representing AA’s 25,000 flight attendants, wrote, “we have received over 1,600 flight attendant reports of suspected uniform reactions that include headaches, rashes, hives, burning skin and eye irritation, itching, and respiratory problems—to name a few.”

The problem is said to be an allergic reaction to the new uniforms’ wool content.  The union is now calling for a total recall of all of them.

However, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the airline has permitted about 200 attendants to continue wearing their old uniforms, and has also has ordered 600 non-wool versions of the new uniforms in the hope of alleviating some of the reactions.