Dangerous to inhale and an irritant to the body's mucous membranes, black mold is a toxic fungus that also affects the central nervous system. The symptoms of toxic black mold exposure include dizziness, headaches, difficulty in concentration and a decrease in attention span. The substance grows in warm, moist environments including basements, bathrooms and inside a home's heating/air conditioning ductwork.
Toxic black mold does have an odor, and it's strong and noticeable even from behind wallpaper, drywall tape and other materials. The odor is one of musk and becomes stronger as you get closer to the area containing the black mold. To keep from breathing in the odor and mold spores, wear a nose mask or respirator designed for combating the smell of mold.
On Again, Off Again Odor
The odor may or may not be present at all times, especially if the mold is growing inside of the home's heating and air conditioning ductwork. The odor may only exit from the vents when the system is in use. The smell may also only appear after turning off the air system.
Black mold is black with a greenish tint, but it also has elements of gray mixed through it. The mold grows over time on surfaces and may also appear slimy with white splotches. Do not touch the mold with bare hands or let the mold touch the skin -- this sometimes leads to the substance irritating the skin.
Handling Toxic Mold
Put on a nose mask or respirator, a long sleeve shirt, pants and work boots before touching or handling materials covered in toxic mold. Dispose of the materials in trash bags or an outdoor trashcan. If existing health problems prevent you from handling the mold-infested materials, solicit the services of a commercial cleaning service.