How to identify black and brown mold

Updated February 21, 2017

Black and brown mould are the moulds that are harmful to health due to toxins. Though there are moulds that are black and brown in colour that fall under harmless mould species, it is important to identify the mould properly to ensure it will not create major health problems. In most cases of mould, the main problem is allergies or unpleasant smells, but in the case of “black mould,” the toxins can cause headaches, dizziness, trouble concentrating, and allergies.

Watch for allergy-like symptoms, especially in certain areas of the house. Often the first identifying markers of black mould are allergies, headaches and dizziness. Though other moulds can cause similar symptoms, especially for those with allergies to moulds, dizziness is a common sign of the toxins from black mould.

Notice any odd, musty smells. Black mould, and other mould types, will produce a musty smell that results from the breakdown of materials. The musty smell is typically the first sign noticed by many that they have mould.

Look at the colour. Black mould is called “black” because it appears black or dark brown against most surfaces. The main identification of black and brown mould is the obvious colour.

Pay attention to the moisture levels around the black mould. Though all moulds need moisture and damp conditions for growth, black mould most often develops in extreme damp conditions, such as flooding. If the moisture levels are low, the mould might not be a toxin-producing mould.

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About the Author

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.