Blythewood Chamber recalls 5,000 glasses

Five thousand pairs of solar eclipse glasses distributed by the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce last week have been recalled.

The glasses, purchased from China by the Chamber through Eye Love Cares Clinic of Camden,  a Chamber member, were not manufactured by one of the five NASA certified companies. NASA has named: American Paper Optics, Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17 as reputable sources of eclipse glasses whose products can be trusted.

Astro-Solar Silver/Gold lensed glasses by Baader Planetarium are also authorized.

Mike Switzer, Executive Director of the Chamber, told The Voice that the ISO number on the unauthorized glasses “is one number below the ISO number recommended by NASA for 2017”. However, there is no ISO number on the glasses. The only number on the Chamber’s glasses is the phone number of Eye Concepts, a company listed as a Blythewood Chamber sponsor who advertised on the glasses.

Eye Love Cares Clinic of Camden, the company that ordered the $2,700 worth of glasses, was the Chamber’s choice for Blythewood Small Business of the year last year.

Jenna Zigler of Eye Love Cares  Clinic told The Voice that the clinic was authorized by the Chamber to order the glasses. She also said certified replacement glasses have been ordered, but she did not say how many were ordered.

Switzer said he hoped the replacements would arrive Wednesday prior to the weekend events and that he hoped there would be as many as 700 to give out at each of the park events on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Most of the 5,000 unauthorized pairs distributed through the Blythewood Chamber  were given out by 15 businesses who paid a $250 eclipse sponsorship to the Chamber. At least one of those sponsors told The Voice they thought their own logo was to be on the glasses they received to give out.

Switzer had previously received the following funds from the Town’s Accommodation Tax funds for eclipse events the Chamber is sponsoring in the park: $4,000 in May, $1,750 in June and another $7,000 in July. Switzer told Council that half of the $4,000 would go to advertising, including 5,000 bags emblazoned with the Blythewood logo and special eclipse viewing glasses and brochures while the other 50 percent would go into additional marketing items such as social media campaigns. The bags were delivered to sponsors instead and were emblazoned with the Chamber of Comerce logo instead of the Town’s. The brochures were printed in China with incorrect information.

Of the $7,000, Switzer told Council that $1,900 would be spent on social media advertising, banners, flyers and other marketing items to draw in an eclipse crowd of 3,000 to the park.