As another S-boat, the USS S-17 (SS-122) underwent a period of inactivity between 1935 and 1940, during which the walls of the submarine might have been insulated with asbestos. The submarine visited the Panama Canal, Bermuda, Mare Island, San Diego, San Pedro, and Saint Thomas. It was decommissioned in 1944 and sunk as a target in 1945.
Asbestos exposure has long been considered harmful to humans, even the Romans documented a "sickness of the lungs" associated with the mineral. It has been widely used as an insulation material including for boilers, pipework, and bulkheads in U.S. Navy ships before, during, and after the Second World War until the early 1980s. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause a number of problems, including asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. To give you an idea of just how prevalent asbestos once was, veterans account for 30% of all mesothelioma deaths in the US.