What could the tar odor be?

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Q: We removed an old hardwood floor and my boyfriend broke out with some kind of rash, it is almost like a heat rash, but not.

There is still a really bad odor throughout our first floor. It smells like tar. Should we be staying here? What could the odor be?

A: Was the flooring paper under the floor black? Asphalt coated paper? That would account for the smell. I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from that. I’m not a chemist or scientist, but I know that some of the most deadly gasses have no smell at all. A smell isn’t, by itself, going to make you ill. For instance, I bet someone who got sick from lead poisoning smelled nothing.

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