American Airlines announced today that it will not renew a contract with uniform supplier Twin Hill after the contract expires in 2020.
In the meantime, pilots can order uniforms from Murphy & Hartelius (M&H) and flight attendants can order uniforms from Aramark if they need an alternative.
Just 9 months ago, American Airlines switched to Twin Hill uniforms for more than 70,000 pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents, and airline club workers. It was the first update in nearly 30 years.
Over 5,000 American Airlines workers have reported skin rashes, hives, itchy eyes, headaches, dizziness, respiratory illnesses, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, and other reactions since September 2016.
At least 600 pilots have filed complaints, including pilots who experienced eye irritation to the point of not being able to fly a plane.
Twin Hill and American Airlines say the uniforms are safe, but tests by the Association of Flight Attendants detected formaldehyde, cadmium, chromium, chlordane, and other toxic chemicals found in pesticides and detergents. Cadmium levels exceeded industry standards.
Twin Hill previously faced scrutiny for its uniforms in 2011, when hundreds of Alaska Airlines flight attendants got sick. Alaska Airlines eventually recalled the uniforms and switched to Land’s End.
Allergic reactions to uniforms can occur when the immune system reacts to a fabric or chemical that keeps the uniform wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, or flame-resistant. Detergents, dyes, and cleaning chemicals can also be allergens. The allergic reaction may worsen every time the uniform is worn.