Metro Health Dept., TN State Museum Recalls Eclipse Glasses

Posted at 3:01 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 23:35:28-04

All 500 pairs of eclipse glasses distributed by the Metro Public Health Department have been recalled and considered unsafe.

Heath Dept. officials said the glasses that were given away at the Lentz Health Center do not provide the appropriate level of protection to view the upcoming solar eclipse. 

For that reason, Health officials warned everyone not to use them to view the eclipse. 

The Health Department ordered the glasses from a supplier who said the glasses were appropriate for viewing the eclipse. “Certification that we received and they received was that these are safe to use,” department spokesman, Brian Todd said.  

Health officials contacted the vendor Tuesday and received a document that the glasses (ISO 12312-1 certification) “passed” for viewing the eclipse. According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) -- only glasses with the ISO 12312-2 certification provides eye protection for direct observation of the sun. Health officials made the announcement after learning about the wrong ISO designation.

“I think that this is a once in a lifetime type of activity so there’s a lot of learning that goes on,” Todd explained.

The health department is looking for another vendor that will be used to exchange the unsafe eyewear and hope to have them by mid week.  

The health department was not alone. The Tennessee State Museum recalled their glasses the day before, saying they would have replacements the next day.

Another option for those seeking safety glasses is the Adventure Science Center. The glasses are currently offered there for $2 each.

Health officials suggest using an alternative method of viewing the eclipse for those who do not have the appropriate safety glasses.  

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is indirectly via pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern.

With your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the Sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you'll see the ground dappled with crescent Suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.