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State Health Department workers began canvassing a Niagara Falls neighborhood Monday to determine if a "full-blown investigation of complaints" against two chemical plants is warranted.

Last summer, the department received complaints from the Echota neighborhood residents about odors and defoliation of trees, department spokesman William Fagl said. The area is near the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and Olin Co. chemical plants.

Questionnaires on defoliation, odors and other problems will be distributed to 340 homes, Fagl said. The department has established a Dec. 21 deadline for the questionnaires' return.

"If anyone did not get a questionnaire or wants one, they will be available at Fire House No. 8 at Hyde Park Boulevard and Royal Avenue," Fagl said. "They are self-mailers and we need them back by Dec. 21."

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