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The Nutty Professor was at the shack over the weekend and the toxicology reports didn't look good.

He wasn't toting the rhino gun that he had last year, a weapon that may have helped reduce the Lake County rhino herd significantly. Sightings of the animal have been slight or non-existence in recent months.

The Nutty Professor came armed for slightly smaller game this time and he did take the Baby Huey of spike bucks.

He also came armed with the news that we're all being poisoned by the plastics industry, the chemical industry and the industrial food industry. The shackmen have long suspected foul play by many segments of our economic base but the latest news provided firsthand at our dinner table was sobering.

As the Nutty Professor waved his arms about and pointed out the toxic products that had us surrounded, he grabbed one simple example.

Dishwashing soap. Antibacterial dishwashing soap. With Triclosan.

He easily quoted from Wikipedia.

"Reports have suggested that triclosan can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a probable human carcinogen. As a result, triclosan was the target of a UK cancer alert, even though the study showed that the amount of chloroform generated was less than amounts often present in chlorinated drinking waters. Chloroform gas was the mustard gas used in World War I.

"Triclosan reacts with the free chlorine in tap water to also produce lesser amounts of other compounds, like 2,4-dichlorophenol (2,4-D). Most of these intermediates convert into dioxins upon exposure to UV radiation (from the sun or other sources). Although small amounts of dioxins are produced, there is a great deal of concern over this effect because some dioxins are extremely toxic and are very potent endocrine disruptors. They are also chemically very stable, so that they are eliminated from the body very slowly (they can bioaccumulate to dangerous levels), and they persist in the environment for a very long time. However, dioxin is not one compound, but a family of compounds of widely ranging toxicity.

"Triclosan is chemically somewhat similar to the dioxin class of compounds. Its production leads to small amounts of residual polychlorinated dioxins, and polychlorinated furans which are contained in small amounts, in the products that are using it."

In other words, he said, it might not be good for you.

"All you're trying to do is kill some bacteria, that's what Triclosan does as an anti-bacterial agent," he said. "But it appears to accumulate in our system and people use the stuff all the time. This kind of stuff is everywhere and the people that make it know these properties. It's a game of actuarial tables."

Deer season is supposed to be a time of renewal and the gathering of game.

This particular visit was, as I said before, sobering. The fellows at the shack drank quite a bit of champagne and rum that night but nobody every got drunk because the news was so sobering.

Hunters, beware. The world of modern industrial life includes a host of pitfalls and booby traps. Drink your mead in a glass jar. Avoid food labels that read like a chemical who's who. We are the accumulation of all that we eat, drink and breathe. Don't give disease a chance to get a foot hold in your life or your children's life. Eat local. Boycott the poisons.


A hunting report:

A total of 2,264 deer have been taken in the Two Harbors District, that includes both Lake and Cook County, down from the 2,715 registered during the first 10 days of the 2007 season. Holiday West in Two Harbors reports 139 deer registered, Holiday East had 229, Buck's Hardware in Grand Marais-354; Gunflint Pines-6; Al's Bait-2; Beaver Bay Sports-132; Finland Bait-60; Maple Grove Motel and Bait in Finland-74; Two Harbors Little Store-563; Wildhurst Lodge in Finland-84; Knotted Pine in Isabella-68; Hugo's in Brimson-426; Pequaywan Inn-127.