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Ask Curbed: Is Smelly Tar Acceptable?

Nothing like a waft of fresh tar, but a reader would like to know if tar falls in the category of asbestos:

"Curbed: I live in an expansive apartment complex in Atwater Village (shouldn’t be too hard to guess which one). They’re repairing my building’s roof, but they seem to be using tar. For three weeks now, they’ve been heating up tar in this large machine outside and I’ve had the pleasure of smelling hot, steamed tar coming into my apartment everyday when I get home. The problem is that the smell lingers in the hallway and I can smell it even into the middle of the night, long after they’ve stopped. I can feel the cancer developing in my lungs already. My question is, is it still legal/common practice to use tar for roof repairs these days?"