Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
New York, NY
June 1 , 1998
A false rumor that has plagued the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the aluminum industry for decades has recently resurfaced, perhaps fueled by the Internet. Individuals and groups believe they can donate the pull tabs on aluminum cans in exchange for time on a kidney dialysis machine.
Such a program has never existed through the NKF, nor have there ever been programs through the foundation allowing people to exchange any type of item (box tops, product points, etc.) for time on dialysis. However, it is important to note that some organizations not affiliated with the NKF do collect pull tabs to help raise funds for various causes.
False rumors about an NKF pull tab program have circulated throughout the country since the early 1970s. Consequently, churches, community centers, schools and other groups have collected tabs and brought them to the NKF, only to find that they cannot be donated in exchange for a patient's dialysis time.
"We've recently seen a dramatic upswing in calls from people asking where they can exchange the aluminum pull tabs they've been collecting," says NKF Chairman Joe Brand. "There's no such thing as a tabs-for-dialysis program. It wouldn't ever be necessary because Medicare typically pays for 80 percent of the cost of dialysis time, regardless of the age of the patient. Private insurance and state programs usually pay for the remaining 20 percent."
The NKF encourages people to recycle cans. Individuals who would like to donate the funds they receive from recycling aluminum items such as beverage cans, pie plates, foil, frozen food, dinner trays, etc., should send a personal check to the NKF at 30 East 33rd Street, New York, N.Y., 10016; 800-622-9010. Proceeds will be used to fund the foundation's patient programs, public and professional education, public policy initiatives and research.
The NKF is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.