American Airlines’ uniform manufacturer said the garments produced for the Fort Worth-based carrier are “safe” despite claims by flight attendants that they cause allergic reactions.
In a letter sent to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants on Monday, Twin Hill said new American Airlines uniforms that debuted in September have been tested for chemicals and are within acceptable standards for the clothing industry.
“Simply put, the garments are safe,” Twin Hill said in the letter, noting that it has shipped 1.4 million garments to more than 65,000 employees at American.
The Fort Worth-based carrier debuted the new uniforms for pilots, flight attendants, customer service representatives, mechanics and ground workers in September. Shortly after employees began wearing them, the flight attendants union said it had received reports of headaches, hives and rashes from more than 1,600 flight attendants.
American has said it is working with individuals who have had issues with the uniforms and will pay for dermatological testing. The union has asked for a recall of the uniform.
Twin Hill defended its garments, adding that it’s also designing a 100 percent cotton uniform as a third alternative to the wool fabric used in the new uniform. When reactions were first reported in September, the uniform manufacturer offered a non-wool blend alternative to employees.
The maker also invited the union to visit its Houston distribution center to select garments for chemical testing. In the letter, Twin Hill said it has scheduled the visit three different times and the union has canceled each time at the last moment.
“Given the health reactions you assert your members are facing, we anticipate that you will not delay scheduling your visit to our distribution center any longer,” the letter said. “We remain committed as ever to providing your members — and all of our customers — with the highest quality workwear in the industry.
The APFA has not returned a request for comment on the Twin Hill letter.