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Hair & Fiber identification in buildings, in building materials, or in dust or particle samples:
Here we provide photos of common hairs and fibers found in buildings along with links to related articles giving more information about each of those hair or fabric topics.
This article series describes methods and equipment useful for the identification of human or animal hair in buildings or in building air or dust samples, and for the identification of other fibers in building dust samples such as fabric fibers, insulation fibers, and fiberglass or asbestos.
Page top photo: fiberglass fibres identified in an indoor dust sample.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Fiber & Hair Identification & IAQ Information
Following this sampler of photographs giving examples of various hairs and fibres found in or around buildings we include an index to InspectApedia articles giving additional technical depth on microscopic or other techniques for hair and fiber identification and for the control of indoor air quality, health, and allergic hazards associated with fiber and hair.
To find what you need quickly, if you don't want to scroll through this index you are welcome to use the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX to search InspectApedia for specific articles and information.
Photo just above: several types of fabric fibers in polarized light. [Click to enlarge any image]
Above our two photographs show the dominant particles in dust samples from a home under study. Magnified to 720x the fibers we found were primarily cotton, with some linen and a few synthetic fabric fibers.
Above and below, photos from vacuumed house dust sample collected in a U.K. home (London) show synthetic and natural fibres. Fabric or carpet fibres made up a significant portion of the sample volume.
Photo above: fragment from a feather - a barbule, on a background of animal dander and other debris in an indoor dust sample.
Our second photo of fiberglass fibres above illustrates the presence of a resin binder common in most fibreglass inslulation products. The colour of the binder resin gives colour to the insulation and often can be used to identify the fibreglass brand.
BIOLOGICAL POLLUTANTS IN YOUR HOME HOME, U.S. EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, original source http://web.archive.org/web/20050923142014/http%3A//www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/bio_1.html 10 December 2003
An intact and relatively well-preserved length of
cording dating from ca. 1854 was obtained by the author
for fiber identification. The cording had been found
inside a cast iron casket with human skeletal remains
and clothing material.
Based on the distribution and
arrangement of the multiple cording pieces found
within the coffin, they are believed to have formed the
stiff boning of a corset. Microscopical analysis revealed
the cording to be made up entirely of mammalian hair,
which had degraded to a point that made species determination
However, the widths of the
hairs (150-250 μm) indicate nonhuman origin. Despite
the severe degradation, no evidence of fungal activity
was seen, which is likely due to the favorable conditions
within a well-sealed iron coffin.
De Forest, Peter R., R. D. Gaensslen, and Henry C. Lee. Forensic science: an introduction to criminalistics. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 1983.
Deedrick, Douglas W., and Sandra L. Koch. "Microscopy of hair part 1: a practical guide and manual for human hairs." Forensic Science Communications 6, no. 1 (2004).
Giannelli, Paul C., Edward J. Imwinkelried, Andrea Roth, and Jane Campbell Moriarty. Scientific evidence. Michie Company, 1993.
Goodpaster, John V., and Elisa A. Liszewski. "Forensic analysis of dyed textile fibers." Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 394, no. 8 (2009).
Houck, Max M., ed. Identification of textile fibers. Elsevier, 2009.
Koppikar, B. R., and J. H. Sabnis. "Identification of hairs of some Indian mammals." J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc 73, no. 1 (1976): 5-20.
Linch, Charles A., David A. Whiting, and Mitchell M. Holland. "Human hair histogenesis for the mitochondrial DNA forensic scientist." Journal of Forensic Science 46, no. 4 (2001): 844-853.
Marshall, R. C., J. M. Gillespie, and V. Klement. "Methods and future prospects for forensic identification of hairs by electrophoresis." Journal of the Forensic Science Society 25, no. 1 (1985): 57-66.
Miller, Larry S. "Procedural bias in forensic science examinations of human hair." Law and Human Behavior 11, no. 2 (1987): 157.
Moore, J. E. "A key for the identification of animal hairs." Journal of the Forensic Science Society 28, no. 5-6 (1988): 335-339.
Savolainen, Peter, and Joakim Lundeberg. "Forensic evidence based on mtDNA from dog and wolf hairs." Journal of Forensic Science 44, no. 1 (1999): 77-81.
Short, Henry L. "Analysis of cuticular scales on hairs using the scanning electron microscope." Journal of Mammalogy 59, no. 2 (1978): 261-268.
Smith, Clive A. Stafford, and Patrick D. Goodman. "Forensic hair comparison analysis: nineteenth century science or twentieth century snake oil." Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 27 (1995): 227.
Teerink, B. J. Hair of West European mammals: atlas and identification key. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Tungol, Mary W., Edward G. Bartick, and Akbar Montaser. "The development of a spectral data base for the identification of fibers by infrared microscopy." Applied spectroscopy 44, no. 4 (1990): 543-549.
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Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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