Joe Foley 00:00
To the No Sitting on the Sideline Dad podcast episode number 124. Hey, do you know your air quality in your house probably can make you sick? Do you know that black spot in the shower, like near the corner when you clean in the shower, that mold that might be bad for you? Today my guest Jason Earle, a man on a mission, indoor air Crusader, and the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, said we’re gonna talk about mold and quality, and how it affects your life. Next on the podcast, let’s do this. Welcome to the No Sitting on the Sideline Dad podcast, a podcast about a journey of discovery and conversations about not sitting on the sidelines of life. Let’s get involved. Here’s host Joe Foley.
Welcome to the Podcast. Hey, my name is Joe Foley, and I want to thank you for being here. And if this is your first time, welcome. Welcome to the podcast. I know as a dad and a parent, doesn’t mean adult nowadays. We’re just busy. Busy, busy, busy. For you to spend time listening, means a lot to me. I’m glad you’re here. And if this is your first time. Welcome. Welcome to the podcast. Hey, I’m a parent, dad, a single dad, I’m a divorced dad, and a man who’s trying to figure things out one day at a time. And I’m not an expert. Well, I’m a dad. I mean, I don’t think that makes me an expert like that. But it makes me an expert trying to figure things out and being curious and trying to think of things in the best way I can for myself and my son. Just like you, trying to figure this out one day time. It’s like the intro journey of discovery. I think so every day being a dad and being a parent is kind of like a journey of discovery. I’m, I’m still learning after all these years. I’m still learning just like you. Next up, my guest, Jason Earle, the founder of 1-800-GOT-MOLD?.
Jason’s great, a great guy to talk to you. We had a great conversation. He’s a hard-working father without any shame about his struggles, with his health issues growing up due to mold and other related issues. Also, the challenge of losing his mother at the age of 14, I mean, that’s, that’s a challenge in itself. And also share the story about leading him to drop out of school, work in the gas station, and break a Guinness record. Yes, again, this record, I, hey, I don’t have any of those. I have some ribbons from high school, maybe something I learned in middle school art. I mean, I came in second place in cross country or something like that. But I don’t have a Guinness record.
Jason’s been performing investigations for mold and being a mold detective, and also being the world’s mold detective in the last 20 years. He helps 1000s of people uncover their mold issues and air quality issues in their houses. Me and Jason had a great conversation. I know more information will be very helpful. So let’s jump right in. Welcome to the podcast, Jason.
Jason Earle 03:17
Thank you, Joe. Good to be here.
Joe Foley 03:18
You know, what’s funny, like the intro questions are kind of fun, actually. And you set a Guinness record. And I think that’s a way good way to start off.
Jason Earle 03:28
Yeah, I mean, that was an accident. That, you know, when I look back at it now, it seems so somewhat hard to believe, still, even to this day. So I am 45 now. I happen to when… I was gonna say, I mean, where do we begin on this one? So I had a series of, of challenging events happen, starting around the age of 13. I mean, quite frankly, my childhood in general had its challenges. My parents had a very tumultuous relationship. And there was a lot of booze, a lot of alcoholism and all that stuff. So it was very dysfunctional. My parents separated when I was about 12.
And I’ll get back to that because it gets into how I got into the mold industry. But at 14, my mom committed suicide. And then a year later, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and really the Lyme, the symptoms were relatively mild, and then the antibiotics came in, and, and the antibiotics just wrecked me. It’s like 30 pills a day for three days on, three days off, and there’s this thing called Pulse therapy. And it was just debilitating. I missed a ton of school and I was already a recalcitrant teenager, and so I really didn’t want to be there anyway. But they called me into the office, and it was January of my junior year. And they told me that I had violated the attendance policy.
And of course it was there’s no written attendance policy. They really wanted me to make a decision. And essentially they said they’re gonna have to either stay and repeat, stay, continue to finish the year and then come back and repeat by junior year or otherwise. But long story short, I ended up being basically forced to drop out and I ended up taking a job at the gas station, which I was already working part-time, I took full-time hours there. And while I was working I was really enjoying it, I had actually convinced my father to sign me out, because I told him that I was going to buck the system, get my GED, start college a year early and get revenge with success, essentially, you know. And so, the bottom line is, I pitched the gas station owner on the same thing. And she gave me part time out of full-time hours, so I could save money for college.
But while I was there, within about two months of my full-time position, guy came in with a flat tire on his BMW, and he was in a big rush. And he told me, he wanted me to put some air in his tire and I said, listen, if fill it with air, it’ll be flat again in a few minutes, shortly thereafter. So if you give me a few minutes I can maybe patch it for you. And he’s like, if you can do it quickly, there’s money in it for you. So I pulled around to where the air pump was, and I could see the nail sticking out. So I patched it and filled it with air and said five bucks and he slapped some cash in my hand and drove away. And I looked at my hand, it was a $50 bill. At the time, I was 16. I thought he’d made a mistake, you know. And so I figured he was gonna come back. But he did not come back. In fact, two weeks later, I saw him for the first time and I approached him and said, hey, mister, I don’t know if you remember me. But you know, I was the kid that fixed your tires again.
Yeah Jason, he remembered my name, which was, which was amazing. And it’s like the first rule and how to win friends and influence people, right? But anyway, he ended up saying, hey, listen, kid, you know, you did me a solid. And I feel like I owe you a favor, or did you make a mistake? He’s like what do you mean? I said it was a $5 repair, I said you gave me a 50. He goes, I didn’t have 100. And so I said, listen, I feel like I owe you a favor. He goes if anything I owe you a favor. And I said, what do you do for a living? He said, I work on Wall Street. And I said, well how about get me a job? And he said, call me by 9am tomorrow or don’t call me at all. So I said grab a pen, sir. Sir, write down my number and his number on my hands because I didn’t have a piece of paper and he started laughing. He goes, you’re gonna fit right in, he rolled up his sleeve.
He had stock quotes written all over his arm. And so I went home and told my father what happened, and he couldn’t believe it. But he said, you know, you better call on so I did. And I called him up. And we went through an exchange that that was pretty memorable. He said, what are you doing today? I said I’m going to work. He said, where? And I said, gas station. He’s like, wrong answer, kid. And I said, Alright, can we do that again? He said, yep. He said, what are you doing today? And I said, I’m goning to work. He said, where? And I said, what’s your address? And he said, 888 Pine Street 10th floor. And click. So I was like, wow, I called in sick or called into work and said, I got an opportunity to go I need to pursue and I put on my finest pair of jeans for my Wall Street interview. Borrowed a shirt from my father and flipped my way up to Wall Street, up to… we lived in a little town outside of Princeton that an hour away by train.
And lo and behold, he gave me an opportunity. He took me under his wing, and he trained me and he made me his his protege. And you know, there’s a long story attached to that. But I ended up accidentally becoming the youngest licensed stockbroker in history. And that’s where I got the Guinness world record at 17 years old. I totally didn’t even realize at the time, there were a lot of other younger people there. But I was the youngest for sure. That’s how that all happened. And from there, I mean, really, I did that for nine years, I had a really great career and I I left when the dot-com bubble burst and I owned my own firm for a couple of years. But I always struggled with purpose job that the biggest issue with Wall Street for me what I was raised with the idea that your effort should contribute to the greater good.
My mom was a nurse and she was the Director of Nursing at a rehab center, and I was encouraged to volunteer on weekends and things like that. And so it was we had a service oriented household, at least I was encouraged to think that way. We had rescued animals all the time. And that was a big part of my childhood. And something I hope to impress upon my two boys is that that perpetual you know, attention to the needs of others really not at your own expense, but really as a way to contribute to the richness of others and to help alleviate suffering whenever possible.
Joe Foley 09:17
Interesting that I brought you on tonight to talk about mold and… mold and and how it affected your life as growing up. And I found it fascinating because you said you were cystic fibrosis, you were not diagnosed with that, but it was wasn’t the correct diagnosis.
Jason Earle 09:31
Yeah, it was a so I… when they brought me to the hosptial, I was four years old. I lost 30% of my body weight in about a three week period, as I’m told I was there but I my memories kind of foggy. And so they, as I’m told it was pretty abrupt, and I was having difficulty breathing and so the pediatrician said actually you should take him to Children’s Hospital. So they took me directly to Children’s Hospital which is an hour away Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, which is a renowned respiratory clinic for… it’s a respiratory Mecca. Anyway, we, they brought me there. And the first diagnosis with cystic fibrosis, I think predominantly driven by my family history, my dad had four cousins who died of CF before the age of 14.
And so this… they waited six weeks for a second opinion, which was that I didn’t have cystic fibrosis evidenced by the fact that I sit here at 45 years old, because back then that was really a death sentence. And rather, I had asthma compounded by pneumonia. And one of my early memories actually is being put in this papoose, which is like a straitjacket for toddlers. I wish I had one actually for now, but you know, you know, they would expose your back and draw a grid and then put these antigens on your back and assess the response. And my dad said that I looked like a ladybug, big red dots all over, you know. And so I was essentially allergic to everything that they tested me for. It was easier for them to tell me what I wasn’t allergic to them, rather than what it was.
And so it was grass, wheat, corn, eggs, dogs, cats, cotton, soybeans, and I was grew up in a small non working farm and where we were surrounded by grass, wheat, corn, dogs, cats, soybeans, everything cotton. I mean, my clothes were a source of great irritation, my sheets and things like that. And so it was challenging. But when I was 12, and I remember the basement being, you know, a source of not discomfort, but feeling a little bit weird down there, maybe a little bit more of a weight on my chest. So I spent a lot of time outside and didn’t really think about it at all.
But it was funny when I was in Hawaii and I had this epiphany and I thought geez, I wonder mold that made me sick was the underlying cause I called my dad from a payphone and talking about parenting. I call my father from a payphone it would probably isn’t there anymore, you know, how many payphones are there? And he said… I said, listen, I just read the story about this guy who got sick from mold do you think my respiratory stuff as a kid was was caused by that. I said, you think well, what actually I said, do you think do you think we have mold? And he goes Jason, we had mushrooms in the basement. Of course we had mold. He laughed at me.
And I said do if you think it was it was a causal? Do you think it was something that might have caused my my illness? And he’s like, well, it didn’t help. And… but just to think there wasn’t even a resource for him. Even if he wanted to do something about it, there was really nothing that they were going to do. There wasn’t an awareness, there was no internet to research these things. There was no such thing as a Mold Inspection Company, or a mold remediation company, or a Mold Test Kit or any of that stuff, right? Those resources were not available.
And such that I mean, information was just didn’t travel that… my parents are still smokers with an asthmatic kid. And they would smoke with the windows up in the car. And that was normal back then. Right? I mean, it was just a whole different level of awareness that you know, now you’d be brought up on charges for stuff like that. And they were just doing the best that they could.
Joe Foley 12:51
It was like air quality. I remember my mom… both my mom and my stepdad did. They were smoking, they rolled the cars up, I can tell… and that this is pretty bad…you can tell when the cigarette was kind of not another good not like it was moldy or something. So you can tell after a while you can tell that smell had gone. That’s a bad cigarette. That’s not a good one. You shouldn’t be smoking, but the air quality and the house and stuff like that with dust and everything.
When I was younger, I used to have a lot of problem breathing. And my mom was notorious for smoking and thought that she could cover up a potpourri. That was like napalm in the air, and your eyesight start watering and stuff like that going, alright, the air quality is horrible in here. There’s so much dust, I go get it, I get an allergy test and I’m allergic to everything known to mankind, and what comes out in dust and dust mites and stuff like that. I move out and I go live on my own. I’m like, I feel normal. Now what’s that’s a different feeling.
Jason Earle 13:43
It’s a big deal. Indoor air quality is if you look at the statistics, they’re kind of shocking, and very few people talk about this. But we spend 90% of our time indoors and extreme climates like Dubai or Canada, northern Canada, people spend sometimes as much as 99% of the time indoors, and include transportation, the numbers high and and we’re so busy, Everyone’s so busy talking about outdoor air quality and outdoor air pollution and all this stuff. And we have no almost no control over it. Whatever you do, no matter how bad it is, no matter how good your car, please, you’re barely gonna make a dent in that thing. And if you stop polluting, you’re still not gonna make a dent in it. But your indoor air quality is a place where you have a lot of control.
And the crazy part about it is is that if you look at the statistics, mold and poor indoor air quality are the underlying causes of those prevalent long term illnesses in America. And I’m talking like chronic sinusitis, which is 37 million Americans, 11% of the population is a mold issue. According to Mayo Clinic. 24 point 6 million cases of asthma in America and about a quarter of those are mold and dampness related according to the EPA and Berkeley Labs, which is 4.6 million people. And you know, the numbers are just staggering. You add them all up between property damage and these illnesses. Not to mention that there’s correlations between mold and dampness indoors and depression, which is pretty fascinating.
And there’s interesting research that shows the chemical compounds that make that musty odor, actually do cause changes in brain chemistry as evidenced by some research done at Rutgers University with a friend of mine named Joan Bennett, Dr. Joan Bennett. And so she started the fruit flies exposed to these to these, the musty odor actually stopped making dopamine and they separate producing and they do all sorts of they develop Parkinson like symptoms. And so there’s interesting research on on exposure to mold and how it impacts our overall quality of life. But there’s no doubt that it also affects you cognitively. So people live in a musty odor, don’t think, well, they don’t learn well, they, they tend to have emotional outbursts, mold rage is an actual thing. And this is very poorly understood.
And it’s and it’s obviously not widely understood. And what’s interesting about it is that we have also this dynamic that we’re constantly re breathing the same air. So if you have a pollutant in your house, even if it’s a small one, you’re constantly being re exposed to it. And so it’s very important that people take action when they find something, when they when they when they start to notice that there’s any signs of dampness, any… whether they be visual…. So if you see something, smell something or feel something very important, you take action, because your indoor environment impacts you probably as much as the food that you eat. And in terms of your overall health.
Joe Foley 16:07
It’s interesting, too, I never thought about that in the air quality. So like him, I see some people have air filters in filters in the house and stuff for filtration. And that it seems really, really good. Some of the symptoms though, like different types of illness said depression, that’s interesting, cognitive ability, and what are some like? What are some signs in the house? And we’re gonna look around the house today? And and what are the signs on the signs that you would think about when I’m looking for mold?
Jason Earle 16:36
Sure. So that’s the first thing is that people always ask you know, what, how do I know if I have a mold problem or what am I looking for, and it really comes down to, if you see something, smell something, or feel something. So when if you see something that would be clearly any evidence of dampness right, so that would be you know, condensation on windows and any staining, leaks. Any evidence of peeling or blistering paint or trim might be pulling away. You know, any evidence of dampness whatsoever, clearly liquid water is an issue.
And the thing about seeing something is that if you see water or water event occurs, you have 24 to 48 hours to dry it thoroughly. Otherwise, it becomes a mold problem, water damage is very cheap to fix, you rip it out, you dry it out, you wait 48 hours, it becomes a mold problem, very expensive, requiring professional assistance, you can save yourself of literally $0 to starting at, you know, four figures and up. And so the bottom line is that when if you see something, smell something, or it feels something, do something, but most importantly, if there’s any water event, you want to act very quickly. The other things that you want to look for are in terms of is odor. So if you smell something, the musty odor is pretty distinctive, very few people don’t, can’t, can’t identify, I really do think it’s an evolutionary probe the line of code, because it’s the first sign of decay.
And and it’s something that is, is it’s you know, I think we’re programmed to know that that’s not a good smell. And in fact, in people who are sensitive, that can trigger an entire immune response. So some people can, some people can have asthma attacks just based upon exposure to the musty odor. But that musty odor is the byproduct of mold digesting so that means basically there these are mold farts. So the mold produces enzymes, when it lands… when the spores land on what it’s going to grow on. The water comes in. And given enough time that the spores will germinate like little seeds. And they sent out these roots called hyphae, which releases enzymes to digest just like we digest with with digestive acids in our stomach, they do it on the outside and in a brilliant way. By the way, they’ve got this entire library of enzymes, it’s very simple single cells.
And they depending upon what they’re on, they can they can digest pretty much anything they want. But there’s a specific recipe or a specific menu rather, that really likes to eat from and that happens to be building materials and modern American homes. Sheetrock is like caviar. And so if you give it enough moisture, moisture is the only thing that you need to worry about with a mold problem in terms of prevention, because a mold problem is a moisture problem. And so that’s something any evidence of moisture, smell something if you have a musty odor, seek out the source of it, seek out the source of the moisture and fix that and then lastly, if you feel something and when I say feel something this is where it gets a little nebulous because if you have any sort of upper respiratory, any sort of headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, especially any of those symptoms that have beaten, you leave the building, you may want to get an inspection or have your house testing.
Testing is a bit difficult and getting an inspection done is a bit difficult. We could talk about that a little bit because whether you choose to hire a professional or do it yourself, tested or tried to get a free inspection can really change the outcome quite significantly.
Joe Foley 20:07
With what we’ve talked about the testing, you know, getting the test and stuff like that. Is there any way to clean it? Is like bleach work or does like any, like chemicals that could help take care of the mold problem?
Jason Earle 20:19
Well, so actually, this is a very common question. And it’s actually one of the myths that I love to debunk. Bleach is the most common. It’s the can we just get a bucket of bleach and just wipe it off? Come on mold shmold, right? This is what my grandfather would have done. And it’s… but it’s actually again, one of those very counterintuitive things. Mold is caused by excess moisture, right? And so… and by the way, mold likes to eat that mold too. So mold remediation, and mold cleanup is that really about removing mold, and removing the soil source of the moisture so that it doesn’t proliferate.
And because by removing the mold, you’re also reducing exposure. But people love to use bleach because it does two things, it makes the surface clean, look clean, it smells clean, and Americans are obsessed with the smell of what they call clean. Meanwhile, clean doesn’t have an odor. By the way, that’s a scent that does not clean. And so when you apply bleach to a to a mold problem, what you’ve done is made it invisible, you’ve actually bleached it leaving behind dead mold, and also leaving behind a damp substrate and a damp material.
And so bleach is 97% water and 3%, sodium hypochlorite or chlorine and so that evaporates very quickly leaving behind water. And so you’ve just added water to the water problem. You’re just basically adding gasoline to a fire. And so this is one of the most common things that people do is they’ll use a chemical that’s waterbased to kill mold, which doesn’t need to be killed that needs to be removed. And so one of the things that I advocate is a Green Clean mold remediation, mold removal, unless you’re cleaning a hard surface now there’s an exception. So mold is not all mold is created equal in terms of how it grows. If you’ve got a porous surface like sheetrock, carpet, carpet padding, ceiling tiles, clothing, upholstery, furniture, anything porous and absorptive or organic, if those things are affected by mold, they should be thrown away. If the remaining surfaces that are not water damage affected, and mold affected, or there’s any sort of significant damage and can be clean.
And they clean them using HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners to capture all of the dust so it doesn’t redistribute it. And damp wipes without any chemicals. That’s the way a proper remediation is done. Now, is it easy to find most chemists, most contractors like these chemicals, because it’s fast. And it’s… and that’s what people expect. So and… so they can go in there charge a lot of money do a lot less work. And ultimately people don’t complain, because that’s what they expect. But a mold remediation is about removing the mold, cleaning the mess that was made by the mold. But most importantly, fixing the underlying water problem or moisture problem or humidity problem that caused it in the first place.
Joe Foley 23:14
Was interesting too, I hadn’t… We skipped further involving testing and stuff like that is like I like making pitches of iced tea pitches of icy cold water. And when it gets on that leave in the frigerator for a long time, say that I’ve just drink water and I didn’t get back to the iced tea for a couple of days. But I cleaned the pitcher, I had throw the pitcher out, but all of a sudden I got mold inside of the pitcher. That’s an… I was… why does it build up like that, just kind of curious.
Jason Earle 23:37
Well, you know, it’s a lot like when you go to the the lake and you sit on the shore. And you see how the the beach kind of goes down into the, you know, the shoreline goes down the water. And as you go down, the further you go down the organisms get sort of larger and larger and larger, right, but right at the edge where the water laps against the edge, you have incredible diversity of little creatures that are there that are just having a great time eating all the little stuff. And then the little finger stuff heats those guys. And then it’s like, you know, it’s like that nurturing environment, you know. And so we’re at the edge where moisture meets the air. There’s a remarkable amount of activity. It’s like the ocean surface is where almost all the good stuff is happening, right? For all a plankton is generating oxygen, literally half the world’s oxygen is being generated by blue green algae in the ocean.
But all that photosynthesis everyone thought for a long time it was just trees and it was a big epiphany when I realized the oceans are breathing, exhaling oxygen. So anyway, the point is that right along where that ice tea comes up, you’ve got a shoreline there. And what really happens is, is that you’ve got organic molecules, what I mean by organic is tea particles, and they will accumulate right there at the edge and they’ll they’ll dry off and that’s the food they’re not eating They’re eating the dry the little tea bits around the edge, it’s like sediments around the periphery of the, it’s actually fascinating.
I mean, it’s a strange name, but what… I find mold, and these kinds of things fascinating because whether you go telescopically or microscopically the beauty of these things, if you can get past the revulsion or the aversion of this thing, because it’s, you know, maybe it’s, it’s not… it smells… but the incredible complexity of it all and the consistency of it. See, mold is a fact of life, you need to know how to deal with this stuff. It’s up there with death and taxes. In fact, it’s more reliable than death and taxes because we might overcome one of those one day, but we’re not going to overcome all I can assure you of that.
Joe Foley 23:44
And then I’m looking at my pitcher of tea, and ever again, the same, I’m gonna be looking at going, after with this compensation.
Jason Earle 25:51
There’s lots of microbiological opportunities in your refrigerator, so don’t get me started.
Joe Foley 25:58
I’m just, oh, man, I think I’m gonna get myself a metal iced tea pitcher now, instead of the plastic one I’ve been using for a long time. It’s interesting to about testing and stuff like that. Isn’t expensive to get test testing for mold?
Jason Earle 26:12
Yeah, it is. And it’s, again, it’s, you know, I’m in the mold business. But I always tell people if you can, if you can prevent this, or if you can act quickly enough that you can avoid having to deal with the mold problem. So like I said, if you have a moisture, issue or or water event, act quickly, you want to call it, don’t hesitate, call the insurance company, get the people to come dry out the carpet, and all that stuff as quickly as you can. But if you do not get to it done in time, and you see something, or you smell something, or you feel something and you want to get checked out, because it’s a microscopic organism.
I mean, the bottom line is, you’re not gonna be able to do this with the naked eye. That’s why we use microscopes. And so you want to have your house tested for mold, you’ve got a spectrum of options. And on the low cost side, you’ve got the typical low quality things that you might find at the Home Depot, checkout, or Lowe’s, where they’ve got these petri dishes. They’re called settling plates, they’re scientifically invalid, but they let people buy them, they will always be positive. So you will… you will get a good dose of fear and scientifically invalid data. But it will confirm that there is mold in the environment. Basically, you can do the same thing with a piece of damp white bread.
Joe Foley 27:19
Jason Earle 27:21
On the other side of the spectrum, you got professionals, so their going to charge 1000 or more for professional inspection, which includes taking air samples, as air samples are analyzed by a third party laboratory where they’re looking for spore counts. In some cases, people are sampling for the most the odors and the VOCs and chemicals. But in any case, any reputable inspector who does not do remediation, this is a key piece, a non completely independent inspector that does not have a conflict of interest, that has to charge for an inspection. People love to get free inspections, guess what, that’s a sales, that’s a sales call.
That’s not an inspection. If you want to have a proper inspection, you need to be prepared to pay for that. Right in the middle, there are a couple of products we want. One of ours is…one of those is ours, which uses the professional quality and the and the professional tools and devices. The Got Mold? Test Kit, uses exactly the same tools and devices the professionals use, but you don’t get the professional air sampling using spore traps. And it does exactly what it sounds like we capture spores in these cassettes, which get analyzed by a third party laboratory. Our kits start at $149, allowing you to test up to three rooms. One room $149, $199 for two rooms, and a $249 for three rooms. And then once you have the kit, you can also keep the pump and you can reorder supply so you can test again for a discount.
And so the idea behind that is really not to replace a professional because we’re not the business of trying to be all things to everybody, but really to offer a cost effective first step so I started the mold inspection business, 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, back 20 years ago, because I had this realization that mold inspection contractors were not… mold remediation contractors not doing the right thing. And I wanted to help be the sort of, you know, the, the advocate for consumers to help them navigate mold problems and kind of protect them from the contractors quite frankly. And…but I realized my parents couldn’t have afforded to hire my company, and so that always bothered me.
And so the Mold Test Kit for me, it we created that because I realized we were unable to to help the people who really needed this the most… the people who needed mold inspections couldn’t… the most couldn’t afford them. We field about 10s of 1000s of those calls over the last twenty years. And so that Got Mold? Test Kit, is really designed to make indoor air quality, something that’s that’s accessible to all people, so they can get the data they need to make better decisions about their air without it being budget busting.
Joe Foley 29:42
What was interesting before I forget to ask because I know that you there was a dog involved. There’s a dog that can actually I thought that was really cool. There’s a dog that can sniff out mold. I know they have dogs that can do all kinds of things now different with a nose smell different things like you know, all kinds of material, but mold I thought that was fascinating.
Jason Earle 29:59
So when I got back from Hawaii. I took a job. Given I just left Wall Street, right? So I took… I found out about a company that was in our area that was doing basement waterproofing and mold remediation. And I took a job there to learn from the ground up. And I remember them saying, what was your last job, and he just couldn’t understand what I was doing there. And so anyway, I was there for a few months, and I saw behind the curtain and realized that, again, consumers are not being taken care of. And so when I started my inspection business, it was actually inspired by the discovery of mold detection dogs, these dogs are so inspiring to me because I had dogs as a kid.
And I think if they could find anything, and I found about this fan about this guy who trained lots of different kinds of dogs, bomb dogs and drug dogs and cancer, epilepsy, he really a fascinating guy, and he’s got dogs for just about everything. And he had just trained the first mold dog and I heard about this and I flew down and I met met him and I brought the dog back up. I didn’t even have a company. Yeah. And… but as soon as as soon as we got it. Since we got the town, I started offering free inspections to people who had been our basement waterproofing customers. And next thing you know, Channel Six Action News heard about it, and they sent out a truck to try to debunk us. And they hid mold in the house and we found it in three minutes, instead of debunking as they endorsed us. And suddenly, I had to set up a phone number and an LLC I literally the business kind of grew underneath me.
And so Oreo and I… Oreo’s my mold dog. She and I did 1000s and 1000s of inspections together. The work that we did was was what put us on Good Morning America, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Dr. Oz, you know, hundreds of newspapers and magazines. She’s in a few books on working dogs. She’s in a college biology textbook. I mean, Oreo, honestly, was the was the mask… she was… I played second fiddle to her. It was the best 12 years of my life before I had kids, honestly, it was in that actually, you know, more than more than anything else. Having a working dog taught me how to be a good dad.
Joe Foley 32:00
Jason Earle 32:00
Joe Foley 32:00
It makes sense.
Jason Earle 32:01
Because you learned the discipline, you learn what what you learn how to develop that. You realize that dogs like little kids, if you get if you if you if you establish boundaries, and you stay strong on them, they will respect you. If you’re wishy washy, they won’t. Dogs know how to sniff out the sucker. So the little kids and give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile. I mean, there’s just like, it’s really you have to be super consistent with kids. They thrive in an environment where they know where the boundaries are, and they know that you’ve got their back.
And dogs are the same way we’re pack animals and dogs do this thing so instinctively, they want to be by your side, just like little kids do. And if you give them that foundational… if you if you’re the alpha, but that loving, compassionate alpha, well, you got a loyal mate, you know? But the moment you’re wishy washy boy that that creates a sense of doubt, that I think has a huge impact on kids. And I for sure, it loses the respect of our four legged friends. But anyway, that was that was the one of the best experiences of my life. And we did a lot of really great work. Thank you for bringing that up, Joe.
Joe Foley 33:07
Well, it was kind of curious. Well, it can be any stories that you guys were on, like on some kind of visits with an inspection or mold or hunting for mold. Any stories you can share?
Jason Earle 33:16
Sure, I mean, I have so many stories, you know, one of the one of the things about our process was that we would show up and I’d sit down at the, at the kitchen table with the with the customer. Before we had we had a phone call, or if spoken with someone at the office, and so we’d have some background, but then I’d sit at the table. And people were always saying, where’s your dog, where’s your dog, and she’s in the truck.
And you know, she’s resting and we leave the truck heat and air conditioning for her, depending upon the season. And why people always want to just like show up at the front door with the dog. And that’s not what we did. Instead, what we would do is, do this fact finding and then we’d go upstairs to go do an inspection, a very methodical way we’d start in the basement, and we’d go all the way up in a clockwise manner. And I’d be taking all this making note of all the observations and potential recommendations. And then while I’m doing this also looking for for areas where there might be a hazard that we’d have to either, you know, exclude from the inspection, that area where we’d have to rectify so we can proceed safely. And and then I go in and I put all the tools away and I go get the dog, go get Oreo. And we do we go back to as we go to basement and we work our way up in a clockwise fashion. It was very fast or Oreo could do a 5000 square foot house in like under 10 minutes, every single… every single nook and cranny, right? So she was a pro. So but we always had the same pattern and we would go straight down the basement and we’d go to the furthest corner and we’d do this pattern and that way we knew we covered the bases, right?
So there’s one particular house, we walk up after I’d put the tools away and walk up with her and ready to go and they open up the door and she takes me for a beeline straight up the stairs. And I’m like okay, I guess we’re going break protocol here. And so is the first time she had done that. And she took me all the way through and it was a beeline right back to the master bedroom, and then through a closet with a whole bunch of boxes in it, and she weaves into the back and she moves a bunch of stuff away. And she sits with all these jackets and all this all these clothes over, you can’t even see her. She’s completely hidden by all the clothes, and she’s alerting on the wall. And the way she alerted was that she was a passive alert, they wouldn’t scratch the wall, she would, she would touch it with her nose, so and so oftentimes, she would leave a little wet spot, which is where we would mark with this sticker, we literally put a sticker right where the wet spot was. And we would drill holes to inspect what was there, we take an air sample out. So anyway, with in this particular case, then she pulls away. And she takes me down the stairs, all the way to the basement, and starts where we normally start. And then we went all the way back up again, in the same spot, because she got paid by with a food treat every single time. So she didn’t she was she was not too proud to ask for a treat twice for the same alert. And so then we’d finish and then she’d say, well, we’re done. And then she would take me to the front door. And that was what we did. She knew her job, right?
But what was amazing at this time was that she knew that and I went back and we tested all these areas. And lo and behold, the biggest mold problem that has had in fact it was the mold problem of that house was hidden in an area behind those clothes in the back of that closet, in an area completely inaccessible any other way, there was no way I would have ever seen that there was no way I would have ever detected that. And it was right behind that woman’s bed. And she was sleeping in and she was sick. And when that when that when that was remediated, finally, the woman got better the whole family healed. I mean, it’s just really, these kinds of stories were not uncommon. The point was, is that Oreo was the only tool I’ve ever used to actually learned and that she took over. She took a leadership position in that. She said, no, this is where you need to look. She knew her job. She knew what she was there for.
And that was so inspiring. And so we had this, it was just really, you saw something come out. I’ve had a lot of dogs, but when you when you work with a dog and a dog has a job, they take pride, it’s a relationship that I encouraged anybody who likes animals to consider. You will never regret it.
Joe Foley 37:15
This was fun. I want to… I was curious, because you hear about all kinds of dog working dogs. And that’s awesome. I mean, I’m glad that I’m… They’d say, dogs are man’s best friends. I never had a dog. But I met I know. I know people who have dogs and they’re fantastic.
Jason Earle 37:29
Yeah, dogs are my favorite people.
Joe Foley 37:33
They’re always loving and no matter what a nice man and they shall look at you and they and then give me some love and give me some love and patting me on the head.
Jason Earle 37:40
They’re so consistent, we can learn a lot about dogs learn learn a lot about how to be better humans through dogs, I have a sticker that I that stumbled across the other day and it said try…. you should be the person that your dog thinks you are.
Joe Foley 37:58
Jason Earle 37:59
Try to be the person… try to be the person that your dog thinks you are. Yeah.
Joe Foley 38:02
Well, wrapping up final thoughts about anything about mold that means something about… anyone to leave with.
Jason Earle 38:07
Hey listen, I think one of the one of the ideas that I try to leave people with it is we tend to look at the buildings that we live and work in, as these boxes that we store are something that we move between and there’s these just these these structures. And if you really look at it, the buildings that we live in work in, are actually an extension of our immune system. It’s an exoskin or an exoskeleton. In fact, I mean, think about it, shelter is one of the four basic human needs. And within shelter, you’ve also got air. So it’s actually two out of the four if you think about it, so but this is something that’s I bring that to your attention.
And it’s a surprise, you can see the look on your face, because it’s something you just haven’t looked at. And the reason that’s the case is because like most things that were so close to, like relationships, in some cases, the things that were closest to are the things we must take for granted. But air, you know that they the rules of free in the military, right? You can go three minutes without air, what is it three days without water and three weeks without food? And you know, you look at this and you think people forget about that three minutes for that air, you know, and so we’re very far sighted as a species, we tend to worry about the problems in the other areas. You know, we don’t we’re not looking at the biggest threat to your health is hiding right underneath your nose. And the building that you’re in is actually supposed to support your health.
And if it’s… if there’s something wrong with your building, and it’s impacting your health. The interesting part about this is that you have a relationship with that building where if the building develops aches and pains, think about it like an organism. It starts to develop mold, the signal that you’re getting much like inflammation in the body that there’s something wrong in the building is that is the musty smell is that is the mold. And so when that building gets sick, you get sick, and then when you the building gets better, you get better. You actually have a symbiotic relationship with your building, this is not a static box where we live in, this is a relationship.
Like a hermit crab has a shell, you wouldn’t be able to survive without it. And yet, I tried to bring attention to this potential, you know, a new form of relationship, a new awareness about that relationship, you know, you turn your house into your home, because your home is your health. That’s what I want to leave people with. And it’s one of the few things you can do in this world, because it will you have real control, we have very little control over our lives, if you’re honest with yourself. But when it comes to your indoor air quality, it’s the greatest gift you can give your family is to learn more about that do the things you need to do.
Which means if you see something, smell something, or feel something, do something. Get yourself good air purifiers, HEPA filtered air cleaners, put them everywhere. And if you want, we’ve got we put a welcome page for all of your listeners at gotmold.com/nosidelinesdads. Okay.
Joe Foley 41:01
I’ll make sure to leave links in the show notes.
Jason Earle 41:03
And and what we’ll do there for your listeners is we’ve got a 10% coupon code there for technical test kits through gotmold.com, and also a free ebook. It’s a 45 page ebook that’s filled with inspection checklists and, and a lot of the things that we just talked about today, in terms of things to look out for things to be aware of, as well as resources in terms of air purifiers, and any other kinds of equipment that you could take a look at. We don’t sell those things. These are…we’re agnostic. What we’re more concerned about is that people just think about these things a little bit differently, and then take action when they see a problem.
Joe Foley 41:38
Well, thank you, Jason, so much for the the link from the show notes, and also thank you much for being on the podcast today. You gave me a new perspective about my place where I live, I never really thought of that I take you for granted. And I really do really appreciate the perspective. That’s the word I’m looking for. I really appreciate your time. Jason, thank you. All links will be in the show notes for this episode. I really appreciate your time, sir.
Jason Earle 41:59
Thank you, Joe.
Joe Foley 42:02
Wrapping up this episode, I want to thank Jason over many guests in the podcast. You can find more about him over at gotmold.com. Also got my links, this show over at nosittingonthesideline.com/ 124. All the things we talked about will be in the show notes for this episode. You can also find more about me at nosittingonthesideline.com/contact or leave a message comment, send an email and say hello, love to hear from you. Also, I want to thank Jason, we’re putting together a free resource for you talk about all things we talked about in this episode about air quality, mold, and stuff like that.
Go to gotmold.com/sideline. If you… can find that link in the show notes is a free resource to talk about air quality, all about mold, some things you can do about mold, some test kits and stuff like that. And if you’re really interested to go further about this because you real quality is important. It really is. Also I want to thank you for listening. Until next time, take care, give your kids a hug, tell them how much you love them. Reach out to a friend say hello, how things going. So you know what sometimes somebody just needs near? Say, just assume that they’re know that you care. Until next time, take care. God bless. See ya.