More Questions & Answers from our Inbox
QUESTION: Plastic and rubber seals are never a good idea due to the nature of manufacture, all plastics release plasticizer or mould release creating additional odours. They also trap odours and release them and can't be sterilised effectively.
ANSWER: See below for the full explanation. All Glass TADD components are capable of being decontaminated, cleaned, and sterilized. The membrane holder is not autoclavable, but can be sterilized by EtO or irradiation. The bottom line is that the TADD is being used successfully in hundreds of different applications and organizations across the world without issue or adventitious odors due to the TADD components. The inclusion of blank and empty TADDs as negative controls is imperative as any containment system will become part of the scent picture and the dogs will need to be trained accordingly to ignore that element of the scent picture. Again, this has not proven to be an issue at all.
QUESTION: The lid is aluminium and not a suitable material for canine noses and will of course corrode.
ANSWER: The cap is plastic. None of the TADD materials are prone to corrosion.
QUESTION: What are your recommendations for working with Covid-19-swab-samples. Which oz size would you recommend for a sweat-swab?
ANSWER: I would recommend the 2 oz. (Small) Glass size for the sweat swab sample. I would only include the part of the sample that is relevant, i.e. the cotton tip.
QUESTION: Would you say there is a difference for the dog (odor?) in working with Glass TADDs or Plastic TADDs?
ANSWER: We have noticed no difference and we've received no feedback regarding differences noticed regarding dogs working with plastic versus glass TADDs. Most trainers choose glass TADDs. The large Federal agencies in the USA use plastic TADDs because they are more rugged for operational use and can survive a 4 foot drop test.
QUESTION: If we can order your TADD glasses for our training, how would you recommend using the glasses? I mean can you recommend any stands where your glasses would fit in? Or something for putting the glasses on a ground-stand in a row and the dog can walk from glass to glass?
ANSWER: We use scent wheels from Tactical Directional Canine (TDK9) Systems (https://detectiontrainingcarousel.com/shop/?v=ba43077c0ac9), however, you can use many other types of scent wheels, boxes, or cans. I've attached a photo of different arrangements the TADD has been used in our COVID training. We prefer the TDK9 scent wheels for many reasons:
high grade stainless steel is easy to clean and sturdy with high drive dogs
wheel moves and locks in position so dogs do not become positionally focused
scent cans/TADDs are oriented at dog nose height for rapid searches
horizontal scent can orientation allows for easy cleaning between dogs and prevents dog drool from entering the scent can
wheel can customized with 2-12 arms
All of the TADD materials are listed in the NASA low-outgassing database. What this means is that they have extremely low volatile organic compound (VOC) odor profiles that could interfere with canine detection of the target material inside the TADD. Will the TADD have more odorants than simply a glass jar? Yes. Is this something that we can account for in training and overcome? Yes. This is why we include controls (numerous blank/empty TADDs) in training.
The point of using the TADD, especially during biodetection projects, is that the membrane of the TADD preserves the integrity of the training aid sample by preventing external contamination from the environment and the membrane of the TADD also protects the dogs/handlers from the training aid sample by preventing the training aid from exiting the TADD. This is the true value of the TADD and why it is so important to use when handling any clinical or laboratory samples that may contain virus or precious samples that you want to preserve and keep pristine.
QUESTION: Can the TADD device be put under water, let odor out but not let water in?
ANSWER: Simply put, Yes! We put the TADD under water all the time to clean it and to perform some underwater hides as we know odor emanating through water boundaries will be very different to dogs than water emanating through air. The limits of this functionality, however, have not been tested, e.g. the depth of hide location under water (which will increase pressure on the membrane), the duration under water, different water conditions (fresh, salinity, pH, temperature, etc), and the combinations of these variables.
If there is any other information we can provide, we would be happy to do so. If you endeavor to use the TADDs in underwater hides, we would LOVE your feedback to hear how it went so we can add to our data set of different use cases.
QUESTION: We currently store our training aids in aluminized bags and was curious if it was your recommendation that the aids are stored in the TADDs permanently or would you only transfer the aids to the TADD when placing them out training?
ANSWER: The TADD is only meant to be loaded once, so you'd want to store your training aids in there permanently. What's great about the TADDs is that they serve as primary containment AND the odor delivery device (kinda like a scent bag and a mason jar in one), which means less physical handling of the actual training aids and less contamination. You can (and should) then use the aluminized bags as secondary containment.
QUESTION: Regarding rate of escape/vapour pressure held within the area of the jar at full exposure and with the restriction caps, do you have any field test results for any type of odour and discrimination?
ANSWER: We do not have any laboratory instrument data on this. What we do have is thousands of data points of hundreds of dogs training using TADDs and getting down to trace limits of detection (parts per trillion) on certain explosives. We also use other tools to accomplish this goal though, so I cannot say for certain that the TADD and the odor restriction caps were fully responsible for this.
QUESTION: Are the restriction caps measured in mm? As in jar 50 is 50mm?
ANSWER: The caps are labeled with numbers representative of the area (in millimeters squared) of the circular opening drilled into the cap. We talk about restricting odor emanating from the TADD under ceteris paribus conditions (all things being equal). Of course a ton of environmental conditions will affect the fluid dynamics of explosive (or any other) vapor. What we are trying to do here is bring some standardization and metrology to detection training so that you can use various restriction caps depending on your training goals for that session. Under closed conditions, will all odor restriction caps eventually reach equilibrium and emit the same amount of odor (e.g. a hide in a closed drawer), yes. We are addressing the needs of folks that can control set time and their hides but maybe not the amount (weight, mass) of training aids they're given and want to fine tune their detection training. The top of the membrane holder is approximately 2,000 mm squared wide open. The odor restriction caps lower the surface area of that from 2,000 to 500 to 200 to 20 to 2.
QUESTION: Why do you advise against using the TADD for peroxide based explosives? Other than the obvious sensitivity of these natures (HME) what’s the incompatibility issue.
ANSWER: In the states, only our Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) really does any legitimate handling of peroxides and they insist on using electrostatic discharge (ESD) plastic containers with snap top lids, like these: https://www.lacontainerstore.com/Polyvials-EP2510-BAS-Blue-Static-Dissipative-ESD-Small-Lab-Vials-250Box_p_155.html. The TADD jars contain threading to screw on the membrane holder which presents a potential issue for detonation if particulate were to become entrapped in the threading. Additionally, the TADD jars are made of either glass or common plastic, not ESD plastic, therefore we can't in good conscience recommend the TADDs for TATP/HMTD until we either perform additional testing or modify the design.
QUESTION: Once the TADD is loaded with odour and the jar is sealed, is it assumed that the TADD is for single purpose only and if you reopen the jar to remove the odour for either return or contamination issues the TADD is now redundant.
ANSWER: Correct. Once the TADD is loaded, it is only meant to be loaded that one time with that one odor, sealed, and then only opened again when you need to dispose of the training aid (e.g. detonation day for explosives or turn-in day for narcotics). You can certainly try to reload the TADD, however, I cannot guarantee that the TADD will seal properly upon subsequent seal attempts. This is because the gasket, membrane, and membrane holder will turn at different torque thereby causing the membrane to pucker and render the TADD's barrier properties ineffective.
QUESTION: I understand from the videos of submersion to show the seal or what I can assume to be a one way valve from the filter paper not allowing water ingress towards the odour, but have you then effectively sealed the surface area of the jar with water and thus prevented odour extraction.
ANSWER: There are no valves involved in the TADD. The membrane is a filter that has a hydrophobic (water-repelling) polymeric coating that gives the membrane the feature of blocking out water but still being gas permeable. It's the gas permeability that allows for odor to freely emanate in and out of the TADD.
QUESTION: What material is the gasket manufactured from. And is the membrane a coffee filter?
ANSWER: The gasket is space-grade Viton. The membrane is not a coffee filter.
QUESTION: What's the solution for odours that have a tendency to sweat in jars?
ANSWER: Without knowing with odor, I wouldn't be able to give a specific recommendation. In general, we have used a couple approaches
Desiccant pouches external to the TADD in the secondary containment, i.e. metallized odor barrier bag, while making sure we do this same treatment to a blank/empty TADD and include desiccant pouches as distracters.
Refrigeration and usage of amber glass or amber plastic TADD jars to limit the effect of sunlight and temperature on sensitive materials.
QUESTION: Once a particular odour is loaded and the jar is sealed, is it possible to store 1 odour next to the another in similar states?
ANSWER: We know that the TADD forms hermetic (gas-tight) seals once closed, however, best practices indicates that we should always use secondary containment such as a metallized odor barrier bag or jar. So it's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it because we know from our research that odor will always find a way out eventually.
QUESTION: If the examples in the videos show the jars capability to prevent outside contaminants into the jar, what’s the reason for a screw on lid?
ANSWER: The videos demonstrate the ability of the TADD to prevent bulk environmental contaminants such as dog slobber, debris from your hide locations, dust/dirt, and human scent from messing up your training aids during training. During training the top cap is off because you want the dogs to have access to the training aid odor. So after the training day, you can clean off the TADD with water, some dilute detergents/alcohols and restore the TADD to its original pristine condition and then you will want to screw on the top cap to stop the odor from coming out of the TADD so that your training aid isn't continually off-gassing while you're not using it. More info here: https://www.scik9.com/use
QUESTION: What’s the shelf life or usability life of the jar and membrane?
ANSWER: We have notionally recommended a 1 year service life for the TADD. The usability may decrease or increase depending on how the TADD is stored and what training aids are being used. For example, if you were to store the TADD upside down with accelerants, I imagine you would greatly reduce the service life. I also have TADDs that I've been using for 3 years in an explosive shelf-life study that look brand new.
QUESTION: Can I freeze the TADD?
ANSWER: Yes, the TADDs can be stored in the freezer 0° F (-18° C) and can withstand multiple freeze/thaw cycles.
1. When are the TADDs going to be available to purchase again?
Right now! We are fully stocked and have a new line of TADD accessories too!
2. How much will the TADDs cost?
All TADDs (regardless of size – Small, Medium, Large, or jar material – Glass, Plastic) are $40/TADD.
3. Are there volume discounts?
Yes, please contact us directly to discuss.
4. Do you ship internationally?
Yes. We've been getting email inquiries from around the world and we intend on getting you TADDs no matter where you live. Please be aware that there is a minimum order quantity of twelve (12) TADDs for international orders. Email us with your desired product SKUs, quantities, and shipping address to get a quote.
For ASIA/PACIFIC Region Contact our Distributor: Wayne Ferrari, owner of TactixK9.
5. What types of training aids can I put in a TADD?
Most training aids are compatible with the TADD. We have not found any compatibility issues with drugs, medical specimens, human remains, biological samples, and most explosives. We do not recommend using the TADD with peroxide explosives at this time.
6. I've spoken to you and you didn't recommend the Large size (8 oz.) TADD, why?
We made the Large (8 oz.) Glass TADDs available because our market survey revealed that some end-users were unable to divide their training aids into smaller portions and thus would require a larger jar. We typically do not recommend the 8 oz. (large) size TADDs for three reasons:
They're fragile, unable to withstand a > 1 foot (~ 30 cm) drop test.
They're a bit clunky and more difficult to manipulate in operational scenarios/hides.
For the most part, the larger size is not often necessary as we know that surface area of the training aid is more critical to determining odor availability than mass.
7. I just got my TADD. Now what do I need to know?
The TADDs are only meant to be loaded once. This is because once the TADD membrane holder (containing the odor permeable membrane and gasket) is screwed onto the jar, we cannot guarantee that those three pieces will all screw together seamlessly (at the same time and under the same torque) upon subsequent applications on and off the jar.
8. What else comes with a package of TADDs?
We’ve included the tools to help get you started:
A pair of nitrile gloves to handle/load the TADDs
Tweezer to remove the blue divider paper or press the gasket back into place
Loading and Cleaning Instructions
9. I saw you submerge the TADD in water to clean it and run it under tap water. Can I do that?
You can definitely do that. It just takes practice, so we usually only recommend that maneuver for organizations that have dedicated laboratories loading and cleaning their TADDs. That way, the water sources are usually pretty clean and invariable and the personnel know the correct amount of water pressure to use in order to not damage the TADD membrane.
10. What have you learned from user feedback?
Handler education is a huge component of the success experience with the TADD. The most frequent error encountered is when handlers open the TADD to use it in training and accidentally open the membrane holder instead of the cap. To avoid this, please emphasize the importance of only removing the WHITE CAP and holding the BLACK MEMBRANE HOLDER in place while performing this step.
11. Are there any training aids that are incompatible with the TADD?
Yes, the essential oils (birch, anise, and clove) commonly used in Nosework, are not compatible with the TADD gaskets. These oils are quite reactive and cause the gaskets to swell, causing a noticeable perturbation in the shape of the material. Gasket swelling can lead to TADD leaks and therefore we cannot recommend the use of the TADD in its current form, with these essential oils. We are working fastidiously in the laboratory to develop another gasket material for our Nosework clients.
HOWEVER, the TADDs are fully compatible with the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) style essential oil odor absorption method, using 100% cotton swabs, cut in half and scented with one of the three essential oils: Birch, Anise, and Clove.