By Cynthia Koons
“People are being sold on the concept that this is the best place to live,” said the resident Tuesday, who wished to remain unnamed. “This is a potential danger for all of the residents of Le Havre.”He presented pictures to the TimesLedger of his apartment walls being sealed off and a team of men in white bubble suits connecting a tube from his bathroom to the outside in order to eradicate the black mold from his apartment. Black mold, commonly called toxic mold, is a suspected health hazard and grows in moist places, such as the resident's bathroom where it was spotted in the cracks of his shower.The Centers for Disease Control said the term toxic mold is not really accurate.”There are very few case reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss,” the CDC Web site reads. “Reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.”The Le Havre resident said the cleanup occurred last summer after which he expected his landlord to inform his neighbors that the cleanup had occurred. His apartment is a rental unit in one of the Le Havre buildings, which span the waterfront of Whitestone from Totten Street to Powell's Cove Boulevard.At the time, his former landlord was selling 181 of Le Havre's more than 1,000 apartments to a new owner, Robert Gellert. The prior landlord, El Ad-WHP Le Havre, could not be reached for comment.Gellert, who owns the unit in question, said he was told of the cleanup by the tenant, not by the previous landlord.”We're new owners at the complex,” Gellert said. “He has mentioned toxic mold to me.”Gellert said he did not plan to send out information to his tenants about the presence of black mold in one of the units.Lia Chaparro, assistant property manager at Le Havre, said she had heard no complaints of black mold at the 32-building co-op.”We had a couple of mold issues just because we're so close to the river,” Chaparro said. “There's been mold in the apartments from the water leaks.”The resident who said his apartment tested positive for toxic mold said the Le Havre complex was built with cinder blocks, which are prone to leakages. In a Le Havre newsletter, an article titled “La roofa, she leaka,” discussed issues of roof leaks in apartments that required tenants and owners to place buckets and towels around to soak up excess water.The tenant who reported the black mold said he started to notice it growing underneath his shampoo in his shower. It then grew into the walls of his bathroom, he said, showing pictures of the black spores on the walls of his shower.He said that on three occasions prior to the cleanup, he suffered breathing problems that he believes were related to the infestation of black mold.He heard other stories on the news about breathing problems being linked to black mold and that was when he made the connection in his own apartment.According to news reports from ABC, scientists have linked black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, to memory loss and internal bleeding.The Environmental Protection Agency Web site said the best way to prevent mold is to control moisture.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.