WESTMINSTER, Colo. — A Westminster man blamed black mold and a suspicious white powder found inside his apartment for causing him respiratory problems and other health issues.
Terry Vedder and his wife moved into their unit at the Arbor Square Apartment 10 months ago. About a month in, Terry said he started feeling ill.
“I had respiratory problems, my sinuses were plugged and I just felt like I had the flu,” Vedder said. “You just find yourself scratching yourself like you had a rash.”
Vedder said doctors couldn’t figure it out.
“You keep thinking ‘it’s my laundry detergent, its my soap,'” he said.
And then he said his wife also started showing symptoms. “In November, my wife developed a chronic cough and her cough would go all night long,” he said.
It was a windy day a few weeks ago when he closed the garage door.
“I turned around and I looked and I said ‘oh my God it’s flooded. It’s got water damage. There’s black mold in the corner.'”
He called the city and he said inspectors confirmed the presence of black mold.
“They said ‘were there any other concerns’ and I said ‘well there’s this white powder coming out of the floor,'” he said.
Terry first noticed the powdery substance coming up from beneath his laminate flooring a few weeks after move-in. He said a restoration specialist told him it was likely “gypcrete.”
“Gypcrete is a brand name for a product that’s like a concrete,” Erik Listou, a Colorado building expert said.
Listou said gypsum is found in gypcrete. He said gypsum is a mineral that’s also used in drywall, even toothpaste and chalk.
OSHA listed gypsum as potentially causing irritation of eyes and skin, coughing and sneezing.
“These were all listed, and these were all of the things that my wife and I had been suffering from for the whole time that we lived here,” Vedder said.
Erik Listou’s 50 years of building experience has him thinking the Vedder’s symptoms were likely caused by the black mold.
“Without seeing the project, my first suspicion would be that mold,” Listou said.
At this point, it is not confirmed that the substance coming up from beneath the flooring is gypcrete.
The Tri-County Health Department said it was too early in their investigation to comment and testing would be needed to determine what the substance is, and if there are any health risks.
FOX31 contacted the complex’s Illinois-based owners late in the day Wednesday. A representative said she would look into the issue immediately, but added she would need more time to investigate the situation before she could comment.