With 6 battle stars for World War II service, the USS Angler (SS-240) was built in 1942 by General Dynamics Electric Boat in Connecticut. The submarine was commissioned one year later and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1971. Because it was laid down during a time when asbestos was heavily used in shipbuilding, the USS Angler most likely contained the carcinogenic mineral in the wall insulation, as well as in other machinery and equipment. The submarine was eventually sold for scrapping in 1974.
Asbestos, the naturally occurring fibrous material valued for its resistance to heat, fire, and electricity, contains millions of invisible, microscopic fibers that break off and become airborne, lodging in the lungs. The particles are sharp and cause severe damage to the lungs. Veterans of the US Navy who served from the 1940s through the 1970s face an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis due to the widespread use of asbestos in naval structures.