A Florida firm that trains dogs to use their superior sense of smell to detect narcotics, explosives, and human cargo is exploring whether such K-9 detection teams can be trained to sniff out sulfur-tainted Chinese drywall in affected homes. Members of a Florida coalition that has created a proposed protocol for the removal of Chinese drywall is suggesting trained dogs as a means to identify defective wallboard. Tainted wallboard can be difficult to accurately detect, as air quality tests are often not sensitive enough to register damaging levels of sulfur, and composition tests–which involve cutting out and testing a piece of the drywall–are costly. Mark Mahler, president of Lake Mary, Florida-based American K-9 Detection Services, believes his firm can start training dogs for this purpose in a matter of weeks.

Tainted Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. especially between 2000 and 2008, with supplies greatly increasing due to a shortage of domestically-produced drywall after the major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. The problematic drywall contains high levels of sulfur, which can cause a bad odor and lead to corrosion of metals used in the home, such as copper electrical wiring and air conditioner evaporator coils.

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