A small group of pilots who work for major US airlines are suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the recently extended federal transportation mask mandate.
The 10 pilots work for commercial airlines including JetBlue, American Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, according to the lawsuit.
In the filing, the pilots alleged that the CDC acted "without providing public notice or soliciting comment."
The mask mandate applies to public transportation, including commercial aircraft. On March 10 it was extended for 30 days, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The rule is set to remain in effect through at least April 18.
"This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science," the TSA said in a statement.
The pilots say in the suit they have "serious concerns about the safety implications" of the mask mandate in relation to unruly-passenger incidents caused by mask policies.
The lawsuit says: "As pilots for major airlines, we have seen up close and personal the chaos in the sky created by the FTMM (Federal Transportation Mask Mandate), with thousands of reports to the Federal Aviation Administration of 'unruly' passenger behavior since the FTMM took effect Feb. 1, 2021."
The pilots described 2021 as the "worst year on record for buffoonish behavior on planes" and blamed nearly all of the "chaos" on mask requirements.
The FAA has said 4,290 mask-related incidents were reported in 2021, accounting for more than 75% of the agency's unruly-passenger reports. Since January of last year, the agency proposed fines of more than $682,000 against unruly passengers.
The suit also claims the CDC ignores that the mask mandate "impairs pilots' health" and subsequently imperils aviation safety.
"Wearing a mask before and during flight causes us numerous medical deficiencies," the suit claimed. "Extended wearing of a mask, which has become a part of routine life, has led to the emergence of 'mask fatigue.' Mask fatigue is defined as the lack of energy that accompanies, and/or follows prolonged wearing of a mask."
The suit makes a further claim that the federal policy "ignored countless scientific and medical studies and articles showing that face masks are totally ineffective in reducing coronavirus spread but are harmful to human health in at least 68 ways."
As evidence for the claim, the pilots cite an article authored by Lucas Wall, a longtime opponent to the federal mask mandate, who has filed several lawsuits against the CDC and airlines over the matter.
Scientists and public-health officials overwhelmingly agree that masks help stop the spread of the coronavirus and have saved lives.
The pilots say they were morally and legally obligated to act on the mandate. They requested the court vacate the mask requirement, remove all signs informing passengers of the requirement to wear a mask from all airports, transportation hubs, and other locations worldwide, as well as compensate all legal costs and fees.
JetBlue, American Airlines, and Southwest did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider outside normal working hours.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider