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Chemical Safety >> Skin Protection, Gloves >> Glove Testing

Eurofins Product Testing - Glove testing

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Glove test design

Eurofins is your expert in designing and initiating impartial and reliable glove testing. We perform testing for distributors and for users of chemicals, for industry, for trade associations, and within research programmes.

Below you will find information on testing of:

  • Mechanical stability
  • Gloves and health Food contact gloves
  • Degradation of gloves
  • Tightness of gloves
    • Physical tightness (penetration testing)
    • Chemical tightness (permeation testing)

Mechanical stability

The stability under mechanical stress is tested at Eurofins for any type of gloves, following international standards (ISO 1817, ISO 37 and similar, tensile strength and more). A glove is stretched, and necessary force is measured at certain length, and at break.

Gloves and health, e.g. allergy

The glove itself may constitute a hazard. If allergens are released from the glove material they will be transferred to the body immediately due to tight skin contact with the glove, and the humid atmosphere inside the glove supports health effects.

Latex allergy from surgical or household gloves is an important issue. Residual proteins originating from the natural latex milk are among the main triggers. Eurofins is ready to analyse glove contents of sensitising proteins according to EN 455-3, but also to determine biological tolerance such as skin irritation.

Leather gloves may cause allergy by exposure to chromium(VI) compounds originating from tanning agents. Eurofins is ready to analyse glove contents of chromium(VI) according to EN 420 and ISO 17075.

Other hazardous ingredients such as N-nitrosamines, azo dyes, aromatic amines, PCP and more may be determined in case of doubt.

Food contact gloves

Plasticisers and other substances may migrate into food, deteriorating its quality. Migration testing in accordance with EN 1186 uses different food simulants. Overall migration may be determined, as well as specific migration of certain substances. Similar issues may be relevant in electronic industry.

Degradation of gloves

Glove mechanical stability may be deteriorated by chemical challenges, or just by hot dish washing water and other detergents. The impact of such exposures on mechanical stability (degradation) is tested at Eurofins, following international standards (ISO 1817, ASTM D471): Before and after exposure, glove dimensions (length/width, thickness, density), or glove stability under mechanical stress (tensile strength), are compared.

Tightness of gloves

Chemical protective gloves are made from elastomers or from thermoplastics. When wearing such gloves body heat and sweat will form warm and humid interior, in which the skin will soften. Under such conditions a hazardous substance entering inside the glove may prove extremely harmful.

Physical tightness

Penetration of gases and liquids through glove

A glove may be leaky to liquids and gases because of pores and holes through which the challenge product passes into glove. Tests are performed with model liquids (water) and gases (nitrogen) and visual inspection of bubbles or droplets appearing inside. Several standards are available, the most appropriate one preferred by Eurofins is ISO 13994.

Chemical tightness

Molecular diffusion (Permeation) of chemicals through glove

A glove may be free of leaks but still allow passage of substances into glove. Normally this is restricted to smaller organic molecules, if not e.g. a solvent is performing as carrier for larger molecules by chemical degradation of the membrane.

No glove will protect against all chemicals. A glove forming an effective barrier against two solvents as pure compounds may be a bad barrier against a mixture of these, and form a still worse barrier against inorganic acids. And - if at all effective, most gloves form a barrier only for a limited time. Few gloves are sold as being almost universal, but these are expensive and show bad comfort in use.

Identifying the right glove for the specific purpose is no easy task. The deficiency of a specific glove is not always evident. Information taken from relevant tables and databases is of very low value because the data rely on a test situation not representing actual working situation at all. Many Safety Data Sheets, tables and databases focus on gloves of specific materials, not specific brands. This type of information is highly misleading, as there are huge differences in the barrier effect between gloves of same polymer type, but from different manufacturers. "Latex" is not necessarily the same as "Latex", and the same applies to "Chloroprene" and "Nitrile" elastomers.

According to ASTM and EN standards, most testing is performed at a temperature of 23°C. In real life, the inside glove temperature will be around or above 33°C. In a research project, Eurofins delivered evidence that protection time at 35°C is much shorter (possibly only one half or one third) than breakthrough time at 23°C.

After having been in contact with the chemical, the interior structure of the glove material may be deteriorated - on the following day the protection time may be considerably shorter than on first day, and in some cases next day there is no more barrier effect left at all. Consequently, a glove test must be performed over more than one day, if reuse of the glove is planned.

All this was described in the report  of a research project performed by MILJÖ-CHEMIE (now part of Eurofins Group) and finalised in 1999. These findings influenced the rules on selection and use of protective gloves in a new regulation of German government on skin protection at work. The regulation can be downloaded here in English or in German. The same texts are available from

Permeation testing

Permeation testing under real use patterns is used for identifying safe gloves. In many cases, testing allows using a cheaper glove than those that are recommended in tables or by consultants without specific testing.

A video with German text, but nevertheless easily understandable, illustrates the principle. You can find it together with more explanations on the website of the German DGUV/IFA.

Eurofins performs reliable testing of the barrier effect of protective gloves in accordance with EN 374-3, ASTM F739 and ISO 6529, offering tests alternatively at room temperature or at 33°C. Duration of the test may vary between 1 hour and 1 month, depending on use patterns. The test gives the breakthrough time - the point of time when the total permeation flow of all substances, through each cm² of the glove, reaches 1 µg (microgram) per minute (EN 374-3) or 0.1 µg (ASTM F739).Additionally, the permeation rate may be determined.

Permeation of volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as solvents, and water-soluble substances such as acids, is subject to standard testing: The glove is placed in a test cell with the challenge product on the outer side of the membrane. Synthetic air or water passes along the inner side, flushing any chemical to a detector after break­through.

Some very reactive VOC's such as formaldehyde, and non water-soluble low volatile organic compounds, cannot be determined in that manner. Eurofins developed adaptations of standard test method with solid sampling discs tightly pressed at inside of glove, some of these discs even chemically impregnated, for collecting such difficult to monitor substances. Some examples are:

  • Epoxy resins
  • Isocyanates
  • Amines
  • Acrylates
  • PAH, PCB
  • Pesticides
  • Additives in plastic production
  • Latex and other polymers
  • Cytostatic drugs

Further Information

Your direct contacts:


Sales and consulting: email

Eurofins Product Testing A/S
Smedeskovvej 38
8464 Galten
Phone: +45 7022 4276