Saturday, November 05, 2005

The NCHRA Urges New York Fire Fighters be Tested For Liver Damage

With revelations that New York City fire fighters and emergency response personnel have been subjected to Scientology Inc.'s "purification" ritual, the National Coalition of Human Rights Activists urge fire fighters to seek medical examinations to test their liver functions.
It is alleged by some past NarConon customers that Scientology Inc.'s "treatment" involves the ingestion of toxic amounts of niacin and prolonged periods in a sauna. While medical experts are almost unanimous in their opinions that this treatment only removed salt and water from the human body, Scientology Inc. and its supporters allegedly believes that their program removes toxins, radiation, and illegal drugs from the body. Scientology Inc. apparently bases its "detox" treatment upon the belief that drugs are stored in body fat: the California School Board recently ejected Scientology's drug awareness program from California schools for this and other false teachings. [0]

"The sooner fire fighters have their livers checked the better off they will be," said NCHRA president David Rice. "I very much hope that the city of New York takes a pro-active stance regarding any liver damage that its heroes might have incurred due to the allegedly dangerous 'detoxification' program."

The recommended daily consumption of niacin is from 14 milligrams to 35 milligrams; Scientology's "purification" program involves the consumption of from half a gram (500 milligrams) to five grams (5,000 milligrams). High doses of niacin such as these have been shown to cause liver damage (hepatitis), ulcers, and more [1].

NCHRA's concern came to a head when it was learned that New York City Councilwoman Lopez was apparently paid nearly US$115,000 in what might have been a quid pro quo payment for her routing city funds to Scientology's "detox" facility.

James J. Kenney, Ph.D., R.D., a member of the board of directors of The National Council Against Health Fraud and a diplomat of The American Board of Nutrition, wrote "To make matters worse, large doses of niacin are hepatotoxic and can cause serious liver damage. It may also trigger gout, raise blood sugar into the diabetic range, cause itching, flushing and a rash. Nausea and gastritis are other side effects of large doses of niacin. To subject people to these potentially serious side effects on the pretense that they are being 'detoxified,' 'cleared' or 'purified' is quackery." He went on to add " It would also be very inappropriate for any public funds to be used to pay for a religious ritual which is potentially harmful and of no proven benefit." [2]

"The damages from potential law suits against the city of New York could run to the hundreds of millions of dollars," said David Rice. "The city does not need that kind of grief. I hope and pray that Scientology Inc.'s treatment has not caused any injuries to the health and well-being of the city's fire fighters. The sooner they are tested, the better off they will be if loss of liver function has been incurred."


[1] (a) "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on the Narconon Chilocco Application for Certification", Oklahoma State Board of Mental Health, 13 December 1991; (b) John A. Henry, British Medical Association New Guide to Medicines and Drugs, 2000 edition.

[2] Personal letter by Dr. Kenney to Dr. John Chelf, who was appointed by the Oklahoma State Mental Health Board to evaluate the Purification Rundown.