June 23, 2018
Warning on ‘eclipse glasses’, find the safe ones
Consumers have been warned for years about websites, flea markets and others selling counterfeit Chanel handbags, NBA jerseys, MAC cosmetics and, yes, even fake Apple chargers.

So, now as we move closer to Aug. 21's eclipse mania, it should be no surprise that we're being warned about pirated eclipse glasses that could be unsafe for watching the coast-to-coast solar eclipse. Millions of people are likely to be watching either a partial eclipse that day or the total eclipse in other parts of the country.

These "eclipse glasses" are cheap - maybe $1 or $2 each - but if you use bad glasses you risk burning your retina. Injuries might be temporary or longer-term. Improper viewing of the sun during an eclipse could cause "eclipse blindness" or retinal burns.

Special solar filters enable you to look at the partially eclipsed sun. Typically, consumers should look for the stamp of approval from the International Organization for Standardization or ISO and a label indicating that the product meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.

But it's important to realize that the con artists are printing the ISO logo and certification label on sham solar glasses and handheld solar viewers.

"Don't just search for eclipse glasses on the Internet and buy whatever comes up," warned Rick Fienberg, press officer for the American Astronomical Society.

Many people might be tempted to do just that if they get frustrated shopping. Early in August, it was far easier to find fidget spinners and flexible expandable garden hoses at many stores than eclipse glasses. Many clerks hadn't even heard of "eclipse glasses." One clerk wondered out loud where you'd ever find those, according to USA Today.

Glasses certified as safe by the American Astronomical Society and NASA are available nationwide at:
• Walmart
• Lowes
• ToysRUs
• Home Depot
• Amazon

Story Date: August 14, 2017
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