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New “Toxic” Uniforms Making Alaskan Airline Attendants Sick?

Flight AttendantsAccording to manyAlaska Airlines flight attendants, the company’s new uniforms are making them physically ill. And this has nothing to do with unfashionable style.

In a recent letter to the president of Alaska Air, union representatives speaking on behalf of 2,800 flight attendants said ten percent of the workforce was experiencing adverse health effects from the new company-issued clothes, including hair loss, rashes and other skin irritations.

One flight attendant told Seattle’s King 5 News that she’s never had a uniform like this:  “I broke out this week. I broke out on my back first, then on my legs.”

The outfits are manufactured by TwinHill, and are suspected of contamination with tributyl phosphate, a toxic chemical solvent that’s used in some synthetic textile manufacturing. This has led to speculations of impending toxic injury claims. See video here.

A spokesperson for the airline told reporters that flight attendants could choose from two alternate uniforms, if they wanted. Meanwhile Alaska union members posted a bulletin to their website:

“Reporters may be filming our flight attendants going about their business in public areas, which is not an issue. There is also the possibility of reporters approaching flight attendants to ask questions about the TwinHill uniform.”

This uniform fiasco is not the first in the airline industry. Last year, Virgin Blue flight attendants complained that new uniforms designed by a “Project Runway” alum were an impediment in emergency situations since “the arms cannot be lifted above shoulder height due to the ill-fitting design.” They also posed a heightened risk of workplace burn injury; as the Virgin Blue spokesperson noted, “in the event of a fire, being 100 per cent polyester it would be like having plastic melted on to the skin.”

If you have a work injury or occupational illness, the Emery Reddy Washington workers’ compensation lawyers can get you the maximum benefits you deserve through the L&I claim process.  Many workers also rely on us to protect their rights after a denied L&I claim or requirement to schedule an Independent Medical Examination.  We also defend the rights of workers who are injured by a third party. Call an L&I Attorney today for a free consultation.

Emery Reddy