EN ISO 374 - Protection against chemicals


Chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and in the worst case scenario, can cause serious health problems. Chemical-resistant gloves provide good protection against chemicals and microorganisms.


When choosing gloves for work with chemicals, it is important to clarify the following:

  1. Which chemicals are used? See the chemicals list
  2. How harmful is the chemical?
  3. How long do I need for the work?
  4. What is the glove penetration time? - See the table below under Part 3


Chemical resistant gloves - 10 tips

  • Check the chemical safety data sheet item 8. There is usually a recommendation for protection.
  • Change frequently and at least every day. Consider double donning with disposable chemical resistant gloves on the inside
  • Take care to prevent fluid running from your sleeve into the glove – and vice versa
  • If there is damage to the glove, it should be replaced immediately
  • Be aware that the chemical can also affect the glove even when not in use
  • Remember that a glove that is effective against one chemical does not automatically provide protection against other chemicals or mixtures of chemicals
  • Keep an eye on the surroundings. High temperatures or pressure have a greater impact on the glove material
  • Be aware that penetration of the material occurs before it can be detected visually
  • When removing gloves, be careful not to get chemicals on the skin. Turn them inside out.
  • After use, be aware that the gloves may cause contamination. Keep them in a closed box so that no one comes into contact with them.


Chemical resistant cloves - Pay particular attention to mixtures of chemicals

The fact that a glove is certified and approved as a chemical-resistant glove does not mean that it can withstand the penetration of all chemicals for an extended period of time.. The existing glove tests comprise only a limited number of the many chemicals that are available, and therefore you should pay special attention to mixtures of chemicals.

By mixing several chemicals, the penetration time of a glove can be significantly altered. Therefore, the penetration time guide must be treated with caution.


EN ISO 374:2016 = An EU Standard for chemical resistant gloves in five parts

The standard now consists of five different parts:

Watch a film about EN ISO 374:2016


PART 1: EN ISO 374-1:2016 - Terminology and performance requirements against chemical risks

Part 1 = The list of chemicals which are tested for. In 2016, the standard EN374:2003 was expanded to include six new substances on the list of chemicals, so that a total of 18 chemicals (A-R) are now being tested. In this connection, the name was also changed to EN ISO 374:2016.

See the entire chemicals list

When the glove is tested, it is given type letter A, B or C.

  • (pictogram) Type A = protective gloves with penetration time of at least 30 minutes for at least six chemicals.
  • (pictogram) Type B = Protective gloves with penetration time of at least 30 minutes for at least three chemicals.
  • (pictogram) Type C = Protective gloves with penetration time of at least 10 minutes for at least one chemical.

Part 2 = EN ISO 374-2:2016 - Determination of resistance to penetration

Part 2 sets out test methods and requirements for hole incidence assessment. The selection method for samples is defined as ISO 2859. If gloves have achieved at least level 2 in the test, they also provide an effective barrier against bacteria, viruses and fungi.

If a glove is specifically tested for viruses, it must comply with ISO 16604.


Performance level 

AQL (Accepted Quality Level)  Inspection level

Level 3

     < 0.65%     G1

Level 2

     < 1.5%   G2

Level 1

     < 4.0%     S4


Part 3= EN16523-1:2015 - Determination of resistance to penetration of liquid chemicals with continuous contact

Part 3 specifies the penetration time requirements for different chemicals when the glove is exposed to different substances. Previously, the test was called EN374-3, but in 2015 it was changed to a common EN standard for materials that come into contact with chemicals, regardless of whether in the form of a glove or a garment.

Penetration time (also called breakthrough or permeation) is indicated in the degree of protection from 1-6. The penetration time is measured in minutes: The lower the protection number – the shorter the penetration time of the chemical.


Degree of protection    Penetration time in min.
1 > 10 min.
2 > 30 min.
3 > 60 min.
4 > 120 min.
5 > 240 min.
6 > 480 min.


Part 4= EN ISO 374-4:2016 - Determination of resistance to degradation by chemicals

Part 4 is about the glove's resistance to chemicals. When a material is exposed to various substances, a degradation of the material starts. It can swell, become brittle, change color or shape. This means that the protective properties also change and that the glove does not provide the protection for which it is intended.

The same chemicals that are used to assess the permeation properties are used to assess the glove's protection against degradation for the same substances.

The percentage is measured. Optimally, the percentage should preferably be 0, which means no change. If the percentage increases, it means the glove has hardened and if the percentage falls it means the glove has become softer.


Part 5 = EN ISO 374-5:2016 - Terminology and performance requirements for microorganism risks

(Pictogram) Part 5 is a supplement to the standard created in 2016. Here, the glove's protection against viruses, bacteria and fungi/mold is assessed.

If the glove is 40 cm long or longer, the glove cuff must also meet the requirements for permeation and penetration of viruses if the glove is designated as providing protection against viruses.

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