Richland County has purchased and is distributing 10,000 solar eclipse glasses that weren't manufactured by a company approved by NASA or the American Astronomical Society.
Both organizations have said the manufacturers on their list are the only way they can ensure that the glasses have been properly manufactured and tested to standard.
Richland County Council member Jim Manning said he returned his allotment of 500 of the glasses to the county attorney and received a notarized letter absolving him from any problems that might arise from the glasses’ distribution.
“I don’t want it to come back that anybody got one from me and had problems,” he said.
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County spokeswoman Beverly Harris said 10,000 of the glasses were purchased for $5,700 from the New York-based Everything Branded company. Some of the glasses also have been sent to the sheriff’s department through the county clerk’s office, but she didn’t know how many had been handed out.
She said the glasses had been been certified by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, and she produced a 16-page testing certificate prepared by a Chinese testing firm.
A photo of the glasses provided by Manning show an ISO logo on the glasses, but without the symbol for a registered trademark.
To address concerns regarding fake or counterfeit eclipse safety glasses, the society is advising people to no longer simply look for language indicating that glasses meet certain safety standards, such as ISO standards. There are glasses on the market that have language printed on them indicating that they meet these standards, but many of these glasses have not been tested appropriately, it said.
Instead, they warn people to make sure the glasses are from reputable manufacturers instead.
The concerns by Manning come on the heels of a recall of glasses by the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce. The 5,000 pairs of glasses purchased by the chamber through one of its members were not manufactured by one of the NASA-certified companies.
“Unfortunately the company we contracted with sent glasses with an ISO number that is one number down” from that recommended by NASA, said Mike Switzer, the chamber’s executive director.
About 3,400 of the 5,000 pairs distributed through the Blythewood Chamber went to outlets primarily around Blythewood and Northeast Richland, which have been giving them out for two weeks.
“But we don’t know how many were actually distributed,” Switzer said.
The 100,000 glasses to be given away at city of Columbia sponsored events, plus 184,000 in bulk orders from big organizations including Columbia Fireflies and Solar 17 at Lake Murray, are all safe, according to organizers with Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia SC. These glasses came from Rainbow Symphony, one of NASA’s approved organizations, and some from American Paper Optics, which is also NASA approved.
To address concerns regarding fake or counterfeit eclipse safety glasses, the American Astronomical Society has issued new guidance advising people to no longer simply look for language indicating that glasses meet certain safety standards (ISO standards, etc.). There are glasses on the market that have language printed on them indicating that they meet these standards, but many of these glasses have not been tested appropriately.
The American Astronomical Society is now advising people to make sure their eclipse glasses are from reputable manufacturers instead of only looking for safety/certification language that includes the ISO with reference number 12312-2. Here are the manufacturers recognized by AAS – NASA – as safe:
- American Paper Optics (Eclipser)
- APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)
- Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)
- Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
- DayStar (Solar Glasses)
- Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
- Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses)
- Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
- Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
- Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)
- TSE 17 (Solar Filter Foil)
More info is available at https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.