Scientology superstar Tom Cruise is coming here to promote his controversial “detox” project to 9/11 workers, and will host a mega-fund-raising gala for it.
Tickets for the April 19 fund-raiser, which will star Cruise and benefit the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, run as high as $100,000 for a table for eight.
The downtown Manhattan clinic offers free Scientology-inspired treatments to firefighters, cops and other rescue workers exposed to high levels of toxins at Ground Zero.
The program – which had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds – hasn’t been endorsed by the Fire or Police departments and has been described by some experts as nothing more than medical mumbo-jumbo.
But others have embraced the regimen, which includes high doses of niacin to release fatty acids into the bloodstream, ingesting cold-pressed oil and sweating off “toxins” in a sauna set at 140 to 180 degrees for 21/2 to five hours a day, with frequent showers.
The host committee for the fund-raiser at the Altman Building, on 18th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, lists Patrick Bahnken, president of the Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics union as the honorary chair and Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, as a co-chair.
City Councilman Hiram Monseratte (D-Queens) is listed on the host committee.
Mullins said he signed up out of a sense of desperation.
“I’ll do anything to help my members,” he said. “I’ve got to try to do something because no one else is doing it.”
Mullins said he heard about the detox procedure from a member of his union and was impressed when he visited the clinic at 139 Fulton St. a couple of months ago.
He said he spoke to four or five firefighters and one cop suffering ailments that included breathing problems, sleepless nights and skin rashes.
“What came out of it, they were feeling much better and not utilizing their medications as much as before,” Mullins said.
But some experts questioned the program’s effectiveness and warned it posed serious potential hazards.
“This is just hocus-pocus,” Dr. Bob Hoffman of the New York City Poison Control Center told The Post in 2004. “For some people, sitting in a hot environment can be very dangerous.”
A few years ago, program advocates posted a letter of support from Sen. Charles Schumer on the Internet.
But the senator’s aides said yesterday that after doing some research they’ve backed off.
“We don’t support the program,” said Risa Heller, Schumer’s spokeswoman.
The clinic follows the teachings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer who founded Scientology.
Cruise, perhaps Scientology’s best-known adherent, helped open the clinic with his personal wealth and considerable drawing power.
Experts question studies produced by advocates that claim the program works.
Among the results claimed in one study were higher IQs.