Understanding Glove Standards

Glove standards are essential to ensuring you can trust their quality, suitability and reliability when you put them on. The most widely adopted technical standards for examination and surgical gloves are developed and maintained by Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand (AS/NZS), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM).

Gathered here are some of the most commonly used glove standards to look for, what they measure, and why they are important.

Table 1: Glove Standards: Australia/Standards News Zealand

Regulatory BodyStandard NameDescriptionImportance
Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand

AS/NZS 4011-1[note]Standards Australia Limited/Standards New Zealand 2014, Single-use medical examination gloves Part 1: Specification for gloves made from rubber latex or rubber solution, AS/NZS 4011.1:2014, viewed 2 March 2020[/note]Specification for single-use rubber examination gloves to determine performance, safety and proper useProvides the acceptable level of safety required of exam gloves to prevent cross-contamination for users and patients
AS/NZS 4179[note]Standards Australia Limited/ Standards New Zealand 2014, Single-use sterile rubber surgical gloves–Specification, AS/NZS 4179:2014, viewed 2 March 2020[/note]Specification for single-use sterile surgical gloves to determine performance, safety and proper useProvides the acceptable level of safety required of surgical gloves to prevent cross-contamination for users and patients

Table 2: Glove Standards: American Society for Testing and Materials International

Regulatory BodyStandard NameDescriptionImportance
American Society for Testing and Materials InternationalASTM D3577 [note]ASTM D3577-19, Standard Specification for Rubber Surgical Gloves, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org[/note]Specification for sterile rubber surgical gloves made from natural rubber latex or synthetic rubber latex. Tests for sterility, freedom from holes, physical dimensions, tensile strength, ultimate elongation, stress at elongation, powder-free residue, powder amount, protein content, and antigenic protein contentUsed to assess conformance of rubber surgical gloves to meet safety and performance requirements for surgical procedures
ASTM D3578 [note]ASTM D3578-19, Standard Specification for Rubber Examination Gloves, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org[/note]Specification for natural rubber examination gloves. Tests for sterility, freedom from holes, physical dimensions, tensile strength, ultimate elongation, stress at elongation, powder-free residue, powder amount, protein content, and antigenic protein content Use to assess conformance of natural rubber exam gloves to meet safety and performance requirements for medical proceduresUse to assess conformance of natural rubber exam gloves to meet safety and performance requirements for medical procedures
ASTM D5151 [note]ASTM D5151-19, Standard Test Method for Detection of Holes in Medical Gloves, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org[/note]Testing to detect pinholes in medical glovesEvaluates the quality of medical gloves for their barrier protection
ASTM D5712 [note]ASTM D5712-15, Standard Test Method for Analysis of Aqueous Extractable Protein in Latex, Natural Rubber, and Elastomeric Products Using the Modified Lowry Method, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.org[/note]Testing to determine protein level in natural rubber, latex and elastomeric productsGives guidance to the protein levels linked to latex
ASTM D6124 [note]ASTM D6124-06(2017), Standard Test Method for Residual Powder on Medical Gloves, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2017, www.astm.org[/note]Residual powder and non-powder solids found on medical glovesPowder in medical gloves has been associated with infection and allergic risks
ASTM D6319 [note]ASTM D6319-19, Standard Specification for Nitrile Examination Gloves for Medical Application, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org[/note]Specification for nitrile examination gloves for medical application. Tests for sterility, freedom from holes, physical requirements before and after ageing, amount of powder on the glove, tensile strength and ultimate elongationAble to assess conformance of nitrile rubber gloves to meet safety and performance requirements for medical procedures
ASTM D6978 [note]ASTM D6978-05(2019), Standard Practice for Assessment of Resistance of Medical Gloves to Permeation by Chemotherapy Drugs, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2019, www.astm.org[/note]Resistance of medical gloves to permeation by chemotherapy drugsAble to assess chemotherapy breakthrough times across medical glove materials to determine the safest glove choice
ASTM D7102 [note]ASTM D7102-17, Standard Guide for Determination of Endotoxin on Sterile Medical Gloves, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2017, www.astm.org[/note]Testing for bacterial endotoxins on sterile medical glovesProvides quality control to ensure that sterile gloves only contain a low number of endotoxins
ASTM F1671 [note]ASTM F1671 / F1671M-13, Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Blood-Borne Pathogens Using Phi-X174 Bacteriophage Penetration as a Test System, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org[/note]Testing the penetration of blood-borne pathogens in protective clothing (including gloves)Provides quality control to ensure that personal protective clothing passes detection of viral penetration for worker safety

Table 3: Glove Standards: European Committee for Standardisation

Regulatory BodyStandard NameDescriptionImportance
European Committee for StandardisationCEN/TS 14234 [efn_note]National Standards Authority of Ireland Online 2002, Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs – polymeric coatings on paper and board – guide to the selection of conditions and test methods for overall migration, S. CEN/TS 14234:2002, viewed 2 March 2020, SAI Global database[/efn_note]Technical specification for materials and articles in contact with foodstuffsTests the overall migration from polymeric coatings on paper and board that are planned to contact foodstuffs
EN 1186 Specification for plastic materials and articles in contact with foodstuffsEnsures gloves and other equipment is safe for food contact
EN 13130 [efn_note]National Standards Authority of Ireland Online 2004, Materials and articles in contact with foodstuffs – plastics substances subject to limitation – part 1: guide to test methods for the specific migration of substances from plastics to foods and food simulants and the determination of substances in plastic, S. EN 13130-1:2004, viewed 2 March 2020, SAI Global database[/efn_note]Specification for limited plastic substances related to materials and articles that contact foodstuffsTests for specific migration of article with food simulants to determine appropriate conditions
EN 16523-1 [efn_note]‘EN 16523-1 chemical permeation testing of gloves’ 2019, SATRA, viewed 2 March 2020, [/efn_note]

*Supersedes EN 374-3
Determination of glove materials resistance to chemicals through chemical permeation testing under continuous contactAssesses the performance of gloves against hazardous chemicals to determine the correct level of protection
EN 374-2
[efn_note]National Standards Authority of Ireland Online 2014, Protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms – part 2: determination of resistance to penetration, S. EN 374-2:2014, viewed 2 March 2020, SAI Global database[/efn_note]
*Superseded by EN ISO 374-2
Determination of glove penetration resistance for protection against dangerous chemicals and/or micro-organismsAssesses the protective quality of gloves by ensuring the absence of pinholes
EN 374-4
*Superseded by EN ISO 374-4
Determination of glove chemical degradation resistance for protection against dangerous chemicals and/or micro-organismsAssesses the protective quality of gloves by evaluating any physical property changes following continuous chemical exposure
EN 374-5
[efn_note]ISO 2016, Protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and microorganisms — Part 5: Terminology and performance requirements for micro-organisms risks, ISO 374-5:2016, viewed 2 March 2020[/efn_note]

*Superseded by EN ISO 374-5
Terminology and performance requirements for risks with micro-organismsAssesses the protective quality of gloves based on its protective features and determines if amendments are required
EN 420 [efn_note]'EN 420:2003 + A1:2009 Protective gloves. General requirements and test methods’ n.d., SATRA, viewed 2 March 2020, [/efn_note]Determination of general requirements and test methods for protective glovesEnsures that gloves are made without the presence of pinholes
EN 455-1 Determination of freedom from holes through a water leak testEnsures that gloves are made without the presence of pinholes
EN 455-2Determination of physical properties to provide adequate protection from cross contamination for both patient and userAims to minimise risks associated with glove breakage and ensures the material is comfortable and conforms to the wearer’s hands
EN 455-3Evaluation of biological safety for medical gloves for single use by measuring for endotoxins, powder residue and leachable proteins in latex glovesAims to minimise risks associated with powder and proteins for the user and patient and the risk of infection from endotoxins on non-sterile gloves
EN 455-4Determination of shelf life for single-use medical glovesEnsures the accuracy of shelf life claims for gloves through stability tests
EN ISO 374-1 (Type A, B, C)Terminology and performance requirements for risks with chemicalsEvaluates three different chemical test groups to determine the material’s breakthrough times for each

Table 4: Glove Standards: HACCP

Regulatory BodyStandard NameDescriptionImportance
HACCP AustraliaHACCP Specialises in the practice and implementation of food safety measures and protocols across food and beverage industries, including food safety certification and comprehensive programmesEnsures product meets industry expectations and best practice for food integrity and safety

Table 5: Glove Standards: International Organsiation for Standardisation

Regulatory BodyStandard NameDescriptionImportance
International Organisation for StandardisationISO 10282 [efn_note]ISO 2014, Single-use sterile rubber surgical gloves — Specification, ISO 10282:2014, viewed 2 March 2020[/efn_note]Single-use sterile rubber surgical glovesEnsures sterile rubber gloves intended for use in surgical procedures are packed correctly to protect the patient and the user from cross-contamination
ISO 10993-5 [efn_note]Wallin, R.F. 1998 ‘A Practical Guide to ISO 10993-5: Cytotoxicity’, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, viewed 2 March 2020, [/efn_note]Test extractables on medical device materials for cytotoxicity using in vitro methodsMandatory for all medical devices and important in ensuring the biocompatibility of a medical device
ISO 10993-10 [efn_note] Wallin, R.F. 1998 ‘A Practical Guide to ISO 10993-10: Sensitization’, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, viewed 2 March 2020, [/efn_note]Test extractables on medical device materials for sensitising chemicals that can lead to sensitisation and irritationMandatory for all medical devices and important for staff and patient safety against allergic reactions
ISO 11193-1Specification for gloves made from rubber latex or rubber solutionProvides guidance for the acceptable level of safety required for rubber gloves to prevent cross-contamination for users and patients

[efn_note]ASTM 2020, Detailed Overview, viewed 2 March 2020, <https://www.astm.org/ABOUT/full_overview.html>[/efn_note]

[efn_note] 2020, Who we are, viewed 2 March 2020, <https://www.cen.eu/about/Pages/default.aspx>[/efn_note]

[efn_note]ISO, About Us n.d., viewed 2 March 2020, <https://www.iso.org/about-us.html>[/efn_note]

[efn_note]Standards New Zealand 2017, About us, viewed 2 March 2020, <https://www.standards.govt.nz/about-us/>[/efn_note]

[efn_note]Wallin, R.F. 1998 ‘A Practical Guide to ISO 10993-10: Sensitization’, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, viewed 2 March 2020, <https://www.mddionline.com/practical-guide-iso-10993-10-sensitization>[/efn_note]