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Glass Fiber Look-a-Like

Glass Fiber Look-A-Like

This fiber is a fragment of a feather barbule. If the sample is not viewed between polarizing filters it can be difficult to distinguish from glass fiber. In this case a node is visible near the center of the fiber. This structure, if noticed, would identify this fiber as a feather barbule.

Transmitted Light Illumination


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.

Significance in the Environment:

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