An American Airlines flight attendant has spent the better part of a year detailing the health problems allegedly caused by the company’s uniform.
Heather Poole, who serves as a crew member on the airline, in a series of posts on Medium explained how her new work attire triggers her long-stable thyroid disorder. While doctors can’t officially prove her reaction is tied to her uniform, Poole said she does experience adverse symptoms every time she comes in contact with it.
“I should say the toxic chemicals that make it last longer and look nice are messing with my thyroid function. The toxic chemicals also make it difficult to breathe — at work,” she wrote. “These same chemicals give me pin pricks all over my body. Sometimes I want to scratch my face off.”
Poole traded in the required pieces for look-alikes after uniforms by the same manufacturer were recalled in Alaska — but she still experiences a reaction when she stands near colleagues who are still wearing the clothing.
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She continued on to explain other people have experienced bloody noses, flu-like symptoms, high heart rates, swelling, eye infections that don’t appear to respond to antibiotics, and rashes — which she likened to “chemical burns.” American Airlines pilots have also complained, with more than 3,000 members filing complaints against the uniform.
Poole also took the time to emphasize it shouldn’t matter who the complaint is coming from, blasting those who feel pilots are more credible just because of their job titles.
Despite all that, “American’s CEO, Doug Parker, has been quoted multiple times stating that he won’t recall the uniforms because ‘over 75,000 people like the way it looks.’”
Fellow employees unaffected by the attire have belittled the allegations, some of them using sexist taunts in the process.
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“I can’t tell you the number of people — men — who’ve accused of us having mass hysteria,” Poole wrote.
And according to her latest blog, the physical impact from the uniform isn’t the only thing Poole has had to defend herself against. People have similarly taken to social media to hurl insults at the struggling crew members while media outlets stoke the flame with sexist headlines aimed at flight attendants.
“And so we wait … for more people to have reactions to the uniform,” Poole wrote. “What’s the magic unimportant sick people number? We know it’s not 5,000. Maybe 10,000?”
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