From Orlando Sentinel:

More than three dozen former factory workers have settled their multimillion-dollar five-year legal battle against Siemens Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. over toxins they allege the companies carelessly dumped into drinking water, causing them to develop cancer.

“I’m just glad it’s over with,” said Gladys Elder of Sanford, a 32-year employee at the plant at 400 Rinehart Road in Lake Mary that manufactured telecommunications equipment.

Elder, 70, developed kidney cancer a decade ago, and she, like dozens of others, accused the plant’s owners of making her sick by carelessly handling solvents.

Plant employees used toxins, including trichloroethene (TCE), to manufacture and clean circuit boards and other equipment.

In 2001, Siemens AG, the plant’s then-operator, ordered employees to stop drinking the water. That’s because it had discovered TCE, a chemical linked to cancer in laboratory animals and suspected of doing the same in humans, in the plant’s tap water.

Workers had used TCE from the time the plant opened in 1968 . . . according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Workers had poured the used solvent into 55-gallon drums that eventually became rusty and leaky and at times poured it down drains and sinks, according to the suit.

It then seeped into groundwater beneath the plant and was pumped back inside, where employees used it to wash their hands and brew coffee.

Before the plant closed in 2003, it was operated by five companies or business ventures, including United Technologies Corp., Marconi Communications Inc. and Siemens.

Each was a defendant in the suit.

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Many of the employee-plaintiffs died while the suit was pending, Elder said.

More.

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