Which glove is suitable?

Selection of chemical protective gloves

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Chemical protective gloves
Source: IFA

A bewildering range of chemical protective gloves is available on the market. This complicates selection for the user. In principle, there is no one "right" glove that provides adequate protection against all chemicals. In addition, the nitrile glove supplied by manufacturer A will not provide exactly the same level of protection under certain conditions as manufacturer B's product. Certain general statements regarding the protective action can however be made when various glove materials are compared. This can be seen from the radar charts for various materials. In addition, the most common glove materials are briefly described. The charts are based upon a table of permeation data which was published in Annex 2 of DGUV Information 212-008 (to date: BGI/GUV-I 868E, concerning chemical protective gloves) and produced using data from the GESTIS hazardous substance database. The radar charts should not be regarded as universally valid, and serve only as a guide to material properties. The permeation times were measured on gloves with a minimum thickness of 0.5 mm, and are not therefore valid for thin, disposable gloves.

A general rule is that the thicker the glove, the better its capacity to resist a chemical. Gloves of the same material but differing in thickness will therefore differ in their permeation times. The material composition of gloves of the same material type also varies from one manufacturer to another. The radar charts are intended to indicate to the user for which types of chemical a certain material is generally suitable (or not). The presentation provides a quick overview of the efficacy against all twelve test chemicals to DIN EN 374-1.

Guide to the selection of glove materials

Information on the wear duration

The guides to selection are guidelines compiled by the IFA from databases and manufacturers' data based upon its many years of experience as an accredited test body. The radar charts serve only for orientation regarding the durability and material properties of the gloves. The permeation times should be not regarded as absolute values. For example, studies (PDF, 456 kB) conducted at the IFA have shown that under actual working conditions, chemical protective gloves possess a breakthrough time of only a quarter of that measured under the conditions specified in standards. For details, see Permeation.


Radar charts (PDF, 147 kB) for latex, nitrile rubber, polyvinyl chloride, polychloroprene, butyl rubber, fluororubber, polyvinyl alcohol


Polanz, O.; Paszkiewicz, P.: Praxisnahe Auswahl von Chemikalien-Schutzhandschuhen – ein neuer Ansatz (PDF, 456 kB). Gefahrstoffe – Reinhalt. Luft 63 (2003) No. 10, pp. 410-412 (in German)


Glossary of terms (PDF, 22 kB) used on this page