EN 374: A Quick Guide to Protective Gloves For Dangerous Chemicals and Micro-Organisms

EN 374

EN 374: A Quick Guide to Protective Gloves For Dangerous Chemicals and Micro-Organisms

Chemicals can be extremely dangerous for both personal health and the environment. For this reason, all people working in laboratories, manufacturing, cleaning, oil & gas, and all other industries requiring the use of chemicals must wear appropriate PPE. This of course includes protective gloves, as your hands are one the highest risk areas given the need for handling. However, chemicals and dangerous substances are very different one another, so how can you be sure about the type of gloves you need? Today we will answer this question by explaining how EN 374 – the standard for Protective Gloves Against Dangerous Chemicals and Micro-Organisms – works. Keep reading to find out all you need to know.

EN 374: 2016

The new EN 374 standard became active in 2016 and replaced the old EN 374:2003. This standard consists of different parts and tests resistance to penetration, permeation, degradation by chemicals and performance requirements for micro-organisms risks.


Gloves undergo an air-leak test and a water-leak test to test their resistance to air and liquids penetration through pores, seams, or pinholes.


In order to comply with the EN 374 standard and be assigned a rating for their resistance to permeation, gloves must undergo a series of tests. Gloves are tested against their resistance to 18 chemicals, each corresponding to a letter code as follows:

Code letter Chemical CAS Number Class
A Methanol 67-56-1 Primary alcohol
B Acetone 67-64-1 Ketone
C Acetonitrile 75-05-8 Nitrile compound
D Dichloromethane 75-09-2 Chlorinated hydrocarbon
E Carbon disulphide 75-15-0 Sulphur containing organic compound
F Toluene 108-88-3 Aromatic hydrocarbon
G Diethylamine 109-89-7 Amine
H Tetrahydrofuran 109-99-9 Heterocyclic and ether compound
I Ethyl acetate 141-78-6 Ester
J n-Heptane 142-82-5 Saturated hydrocarbon
K Sodium hydroxide 40% 1310-73-2 Inorganic base
L Sulphuric acid 96% 7664-93-9 Inorganic mineral acid, oxidising
M Nitric acid 65% 7697-37-2 Inorganic mineral acid, oxidising
N Acetic acid 99% 64-19-7 Organic acid
O Ammonium hydroxide 25% 1336-21-6 Organic base
P Hydrogen peroxide 30% 7722-84-1 Peroxide
S Hydrofluoric acid 40% 7664-39-3 Inorganic mineral acid
T Formaldehyde 37% 50-00-0 Aldehyde

Depending on the number of chemicals gloves provide protection from, they are then classified into three categories:

Type A – gloves provide protection against minimum 6 test chemicals for at least 30 minutes (level 2) [d1] 
Type B – gloves provide protection against minimum 3 test chemicals for at least 30 minutes (level 2)
Type C – gloves provide protection against minimum 1 test chemical for at least 10 minutes (level 1)

Once gloves are tested, both letters and type are written near the beaker symbol for permeation resistance. This is an example:

EN 374


The degradation test introduced in 2016 records the detrimental changes happening in the gloves’ physical properties after exposure to a specific type of chemical. Changes can include cracking, swelling, brittleness and shrinkage. This test must be repeated for each of the chemicals which the gloves are claimed to provide protection against.


When it comes to micro-organisms, the EN 374 standard classifies gloves into two categories:

•  Protection against bacteria and fungi.

• Protection against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

The gloves providing protection against micro-organisms are marked with the following symbol:

EN 374

Now that you know how the EN 374 standard works, browse our selection of high-quality Chemical-resistant Gloves to find the best option for your needs!

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