There's an angle on this story which hasn't really been covered by this thread, and which I care deeply about.
Stephen Ramsden, director of the world's largest solar astronomy outreach nonprofit, the CBSAP, has said it a lot better than I am likely to, so I'll quote a recent Facebook post from him below:
It appears, after exhaustive research , that the original "fake eclipse glasses flood the market" story came out of the Washington Post on August 4th.
The entire story is based on an interview with the American Astronomical Society and their quotes about "recently changing their eyewear safety advice" including "The ISO certification on the glasses isn't enough anymore with all the fakes out there".....(nonsense)
Amazon appears to have reacted to this story and its subsequent sharing everywhere on local TV stations and social media with their extraordinarily bad decision to offer EVERYONE who purchased perfectly safe solar glasses a refund accompanied by an email stating that their glasses may be "unsafe" and then withdrawing the refund out of vendors account without the slightest verification or appeal process ahead of time.
This horrible situation has led to HUNDREDS of school systems across the country cancelling any outdoor viewing events even when they have already purchased or been donated perfectly safe solar viewing glasses.
This decision and the resulting hysteria from liability fearing beurocrats has absolutely decimated CBSAP and many vendors financially and morally while simultaneously ruining one of the greatest experiences anyone can have in their lifetimes by watching a total or partial solar eclipse with their own eyes. The further understanding of the beauty of our natural world gained by this event has been robbed from hundreds of thousands of students simply to protect one company from imagined liability.
As always , the real losers here are students.
Not one media station, blogger, NASA official or science celebrity has any interest in calling this like it is and attempting to fix this egregious wrong.
As always, I'm happy to stand up for what is right and call out these folks here and now. The irreversible damage has already been done but a formal apology to American students, vendors and STEM providers is clearly in order here.
Stephen W Ramsden
Director and Founder
Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project
The worlds largest solar astronomy outreach nonprofit.
School boards, not knowing any better and falling victim to the hysteria (but without thinking to seek expert advice), are explicitly prohibiting their teachers from using the safe glasses he sent to their schools for free, out of his own hard work and his supporters' generous donations. Or they are overreacting yet further by cancelling the entire school day, or keeping kids indoors for the duration of the eclipse, for "safety".
An enormous amount of goodwill, money and time put into sharing the eclipse has been completely wasted.
I've been watching the imaginary hysteria and paranoia about fake eclipse glasses mount for a couple of weeks, but I didn't expect it to come to this. Amazon really turned it into a damaging panic.
In my opinion it's the equivalent of shouting "fire!" in a crowded room, and I sincerely believe it has done/will do nothing but harm.
(Sorry if this comes across as a bit accusatory/combative... I'm genuinely furious!)