Asbestos, present in most old houses, continues to be responsible for many diseases affecting home owners who renovate without being aware of the risks.
Asbestos Disease Foundation of Australia Barry Robson president said he hoped more people would become aware of the dangers of doing their own home renovations and using unlicensed labour.
"Make sure your tradesman is licensed," he said. "And if it is asbestos, get experts to remove it: do it yourself and you'll do yourself in."
Mr Robson said exposure to asbestos can result in asbestosis and lung cancer that can take 30 years to be detected.
... and what to do
Penrith Council works with the NSW Government, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and the Asbestos Education Committee on asbestos-risk campaigns.
Last year the council set up a campaign caravan to show where asbestos is likely to be found in homes to help people understand the risks, especially when renovating.
The NSW Government has also developed a guide to Fibro and Asbestos that can be found on at penrithcity.nsw.gov.au.
Last year the NSW Government issued a model asbestos policy for NSW councils.