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Glass Fiber Look-A-Like

Glass Fiber Look-A-Like

This is a fragment of a feather barbule. With circular polarized light the birefringence is easily visible regardless of the fiber's orientation. Without circular polarized light the analysis would take longer because the stage would have to be rotated to observe the birefringence for some of these fibers that may be encountered. Without polarized light at all the fiber could be mistaken for a glass fiber.

Transmitted Off Circular Polarized Light Illumination


Many different fiber types could be mistaken for glass fiber if the microscope is not configured for polarized light.

Significance in the Environment:

Bird feather barbule fragments are very common in environmental samples. In indoor environments they may come from down clothing or furniture, but they are often from wild birds in the immediate outdoor environment. They may also be from pet birds in home environments and school classrooms. Excessive numbers of feather barbules relative to human skin flakes, clothing fiber, or paper fiber may indicate an exposure problem. It is often not the feathers that are the health risk but rather bird mites or diseases that may be associated with the bird exposure.

Characteristic Features:

Associated Particles: