Oreo the Mold Detecting Dog Arrives in New Jersey PRINCETON, NJ - June 22, 2004 -- In the silent war between Mankind and mold, there is a new weapon in America: Dogs. Specially trained to detect and pinpoint the sources of mold in buildings, Mold Dogs® are emerging as the quickest and most economical tool available in the quest to protect people from the pervasive threat of mold in homes, schools and offices. Oreo the Mold Dog A Mold Dog® can quickly find hidden mold in any building, enabling the growth to be located and removed efficiently and economically. Mold, and the toxins it produces, can cause severe health problems, including asthma, allergies, sinusitis, headaches, chronic fatigue, memory loss and even brain damage. Some diseases caused by mold can even be fatal. In modern, airtight buildings, mold can find places to grow more easily than ever before. Man’s best friends have been proven effective in finding drugs, explosives, people -- both dead and alive -- accelerants used by arsonists, and even termites. Now, a small but growing number of canines have been deployed nationwide in the war against mold. In Europe, dogs have been used to find hidden mold for 25 years. Oreo, a one-year-old Labrador mix, is the Northeast’s first Mold Dog® and the primary anti-mold weapon of Princeton-based Lab Results LLC. Rescued from an animal shelter, Oreo now earns her keep and the admiration of her owner, Jason Earle, founder of Lab Results LLC, as a four-legged mold detective. “Oreo is an amazing creature and a great friend.” Earle said. “She has made the task of finding mold so simple and so precise that there is no reason not to have every home, school and workplace inspected annually. I expect Oreo and I will be very busy for the next few years, and Lab Results will be adding more Mold Dogs and handlers as rapidly as we can.” Oreo is one of less than two dozen animals in the U.S. certified as Mold Dogs® by the Florida Canine Academy, which also trains canine teams for detection of bombs, drugs, money, weapons, termites, accelerants. “Oreo can tell us precisely where mold hides, behind walls, under floors, in ceilings or wherever it lurks,” said Earle. “Knowing where mold hides – and where it doesn’t – can save thousands of dollars in remediation costs. Finding mold and eliminating it can give you back your peace of mind.” The Origin of Mold Dog® About five years ago, Florida Canine Academy owner Bill Whitstine, a former police officer and fire marshall in Safety Harbor, FL, recognized the growing problem of mold in homes and businesses and began working with researchers to investigate how dogs could be trained to detect molds. As a result of his successful research, Whitstine founded Mold Dog® as a subsidiary of the Florida Canine Academy to train, certify and sell mold detecting dogs. Traditional methods of mold detection involve air sampling, surface swabs, moisture detection and visual inspection. While these tactics may effectively determine the presence of mold infestations in a home or commercial building, they often can’t pinpoint the exact location of the mold colonies. The result is often a costly and time-consuming wholesale demolition of walls, floors and ceilings in search of mold. Invariably, a large quantity of mold-free material is destroyed in pursuit of the source. A certified Mold Dog® can lead its handler to the exact locations of mold infestations, either active or dormant. The ensuing mold remediation can be done quickly, accurately and at minimal cost compared with traditional methods. Air sampling and other scientific tests can be used in conjunction with the Mold Dog® inspection to provide proof of the dog’s findings and to certify the effectiveness of the remediation work. The Mold Problem Mold is fast becoming one of the most volatile issues in the insurance industry, where the battle among building owners, tenants, insurers and government regulators could go on for many years. Insurance carriers are scrambling to limit their liability for mold. Juries have issued awards for mold damage for as much as $32 million. Insurance regulators have for the most part refused to allow insurers to deny mold coverage but have permitted tight ceilings on claim amounts. This has placed buyers, sellers, owners and tenants of all kinds under increasing pressure to protect themselves against mold and its legal complications. Mold can hide in spaces behind walls or ceilings and under floors, wherever there is enough moisture to sustain it. Anything more than 51 percent humidity can be enough to allow mold to flourish. It can grow even in dry climates like Arizona, feeding off the condensation produced by air conditioning or moisture from plumbing and roof leaks, even after the leaks are repaired. Even if moisture is removed, dried mold can remain a health threat indefinitely. One of the primary causes of the mold epidemic in America is modern construction codes requiring airtight structures, imposed to conserve energy in heating and cooling. This brand of energy efficiency has proven to be a double-edged sword, creating pockets of trapped moisture and still air that serve as ideal environments for mold. More than just a musty smell, molds produce microscopic airborne spores, some of which can invade the human body and take root, creating illness and sometimes death. Fungal colonies also produce volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, including alcohols, ketones, benzene, methyl chloride, acetone and other toxic chemicals. The Mayo Clinic in 1999 concluded that 96 percent of the 37 million U.S. cases of chronic sinusitis were caused by mold. The Mayo Clinic study also said 93 percent of the subjects tested were not merely hypersensitive to mold, but were actually infected by fungus. Lab Results LLC was formed in 2003 for the express purpose of acquiring and using dogs – preferably Labradors – in the detection of hidden mold in homes, schools and all commercial buildings.