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Eugene group's research revealed many plants sold in garden supply stores contain neonicotinoid pesticides, which were blamed for massive bee kill in Wilsonville

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO  - A protective cover is placed over a tree in Hillsboro where bees died after suspected pesticide exposure. Eugene-based Beyond Toxics, Friends of the Earth and their allies announced Wednesday that Walmart and True Value have decided to stop selling a class of pesticides that have been linked to massive bee deaths.

According to Beyond Toxics, the two companies will stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides from their garden supply centers. The companies also will stop selling plants treated with neonicotinoids and remove products containing them from their store shelves.

"It is a great day for bees when retailers, relying on science, commit to end the sale of bee-killing pesticides," said Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics, in a prepared release. "Beyond Toxics and our allies will continue to protect pollinators and aquatic systems by eliminating these bio-persistent chemicals. This is necessary to ensure food security."

Beyond Toxics helped gather samples for studies in 2014 and 2016 that showed 51 percent of plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 U.S. and Canadian cities contained neonicotinoid pesticides.

The pesticide levels raised alarms that pollen and nectar from the flowers could harm or even kill bees, according to Beyond Toxics.

Neonicotinoid pesticides sprayed on flowering linden trees at a Target store in Wilsonville were blamed for killing more than 50,000 bumblebees in 2013. Honeybees were found dying in Hillsboro just days later near trees treated with the same product.

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