Illinois Sustainability Technology Center 1 Hazelwood DriveChampaign, Illinois61820Dear Sir/Madam,I am writing you with major concerns regarding the choices you have made for your sustainability awards for 2009. One of your choices is not environmentally conscious andis not sustainable in their current choice of products.The Company I am referring to is the NOW Company. They are listed as ContinuousImprovement Award Winners. While I realize this company has a wide variety of products, most of them may or may not be helpful that remains to be seen, as I have notused them personally. I am however a consumer and I care a great deal about what I useand it’s effect on our environment. I have concerns regarding some of the products theymanufacture and promote. This includes their shark cartilage and shark liver oil products.Let me elaborate on this, shark cartilage has not shown to be useful or beneficial to ahuman being. It is not approved by the FDA and has been shown to be useless by theBreast Cancer Research at the Mayo Clinic. I can point to many studies and research onthe decline of shark populations. I will elaborate on this subject.Existing studies of shark cartilage on a variety of cancers produced negligible to non-existent results in the prevention or treatment of cancer. Most notable among these was a breast-cancer trial conducted by theMayo Clinicthat stated that the trial "was unable todemonstrate any suggestion of efficacy for this shark cartilage product in patients withadvanced cancer.” The results of another clinical trial were presented at the 43rd annualmeeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. In that study (sponsored by the National Cancer Institute), "researchers did not find a statistical difference in survival" between patients receiving shark cartilage and those taking a placebo.So in taking the cancer benefits off the plate let me point out the decline in shark populations and that effect on our environment. Some shark populations in theMediterranean Sea have completely collapsed, according to a new study, with numbers of five species declining by more than 96 percent over the past two centuries. “This loss of top predators could hold serious implications for the entire marine ecosystem, greatlyaffecting food webs throughout this region,” said the lead author of the study, FrancescoFerretti, a doctoral student in marine biology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.Particularly troubling, the researchers said, were patterns indicating a lack of females of breeding age, which are essential if populations are to recover even with newconservation measures.
“Because sharks are long-lived and slow to mature, they need fully grown females tokeep their populations reproductively healthy,” said Heike K. Lotze, a study author whois at Dalhousie. Thestudyis scheduled for publication in the journal ConservationBiology and was posted by the Lenfest Ocean Program, a private group in Washingtonthat paid for the research.The study focused on five species for which there were sufficient records to chart a long-term trend — hammerhead, blue and thresher sharks and two types of mackerel sharks.The Mediterranean is home to some 47-shark species, and similar declines are presumedto have occurred in many of them.Sharks take years to reach sexual maturity and, unlike most other fishes, produce smallnumbers of young, making them particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Populations havedeclined worldwide, but experts say the Mediterranean — bordered by many countrieswith diverse rules and fished intensively for centuries — has had bigger losses of sharksand other large predatory fish, including tuna.The region’s long-term decline was revealed by sifting decades of catch records and other scattered sources of data, which showed that over time the Mediterranean ecosystem, had been utterly transformed. With top-tier predators removed, the populations of other fishand invertebrates have shifted drastically.Why the concern for the decrease in shark populations? Predators, including sharks, eat primarily injured or sick animal, the young animal can escape or fight. This means thatthe weaker animals are removed, and this allows the others to get better and sufficientfood. Removing the sick can slow or stop the spread of diseases that can be devastating tothehealthyanimals. Predators help keep populations and ecosystems healthy, withoutthem, things will sicken and die. The sharks are a regulatory mechanism in the sea. Byremoving the sharks, the other fish can start to grow out of control even if they dostayhealthy.They will eat other things faster than they can regenerate, and suddenly the foodis gone and everything starves. Parrot Fish eat coral, but too many Parrot Fish and thecoral is all gone. Without the coral, other fish have no place to live and they die. Wholeecosystems can collapse when their means of regulation is removed, and that meanssharks in the ocean.In closing, I have deep concerns with a company receiving this prestigious award, yetthey are ignoring a vital part of our environment. Declining shark populations meansshort-term rise in some species, but a long-term decline in the ocean's ability to sustainitself, and the ocean sustains the world! If we remove sharks the oceans will die and if theoceans die we will follow.Thank you for your time and attention to this concern,(name)