American Airlines employees complain uniforms are causing hives, rashes

Back in September, American Airlines celebrated the finalization of its merger with US Airways by debuting updated uniforms for 70,000 of its customer-facing employees, including pilots, flight attendants and customer service representatives.

However, according to CBS, more than 3,000 flight attendants and 200 pilots have filed reports complaining that the uniforms have caused hives, rashes and breathing problems.

In some cases, employees have reported reactions so severe that they required medical attention. Joshua Scarpuzzi, a flight attendant, told CBS that his eyes swelled shut and he was admitted to the ER after suffering a reaction to the clothing.

Kristen Foster, a spokeswoman for the airline, tells The Hollywood Reporter that American Airlines and the manufacturer of the uniform (which has worked with the airline in the past) have conducted separate tests by independent third-party labs, and both found that all chemicals fall "well within the industry standard."

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American Airlines flight attendant uniforms
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The airline is now working on a case-by-case basis to assist those affected employees, offering several alternatives to the offending uniforms, including a new edition released this spring, a 100 percent cotton option and, in select cases, the choice to purchase look-alike items from other retailers.

However, for some employees, these options aren't good enough. They insist that a full recall is the only way to remedy the situation. "I'm still next to people who are wearing the uniform," said Scarpuzzi. "When I sit on my jump seat, I try to give a couple inches of space between me and the other person because my first trip back after my ER visit I got a rash, just from sitting next to someone wearing it."

Foster notes that a recall is not being considered by the airline.

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