EN 374

European Standard 374 (EN 374)

For disposable gloves to be suitable as chemical protective gloves, they must meet the requirements of European Standard 374. Disposable gloves that comply with the European Standard 374 offer protection against chemicals and microorganisms and have the following product characteristics:
The chemical protective gloves are both

Air and Waterproof 374-1

Type A chemical protective gloves prevent the chemical from breaking through the glove for at least 30 minutes when using at least 6 different test chemicals.
Type B chemical protective gloves prevent the chemical from breaking through the glove for at least 30 minutes when using at least 3 different test chemicals.
Type C chemical protective gloves prevent chemical breakthrough of at least one test chemical for at least 10 minutes.

The disposable glove protects against bacteria and fungi. EN 374-2

Disposable gloves, which also comply with EN 374-5, also offer protection against viruses.
In the test report, you will find information on the extent to which the puncture resistance of the glove is changed by the one-hour continuous contact with a liquid chemical (EN 374-4).

The European Standard 374: Chemical protective gloves against hazardous chemicals and microorganisms (EN 374)
The European Standard 374 (EN 374) provides information on how well a disposable glove protects the user against chemicals and microorganisms.

The European Standard 374 and the pictograms printed on the glove boxes on the basis of EN 374 serve for product comparison and are intended to help you as a user in the selection of suitable chemical protective gloves.

Before 2016, EN 374 was divided into four parts. Currently, the standard now consists of five parts. The amendments were written in 2016 and are valid since April 2018. There is a transition period of 5 years. Therefore, until April 2023 you can find both protective gloves that are labelled according to the old version of EN 374 and protective gloves that are declared according to the new regulations.


EN 374-1

Terminology and performance requirements for chemical risks
Pictograms since 2016

Type A: A chemical protective glove of this type prevents chemical permeation of at least 6 of the test chemicals for at least 30 minutes at a time.


Type B: A chemical protective glove of this type prevents the penetration of at least 3 of the test chemicals for at least 30 minutes.


Type C: A chemical protective glove of this type prevents chemical breakthrough (permeation) for at least 10 minutes for at least one of the test chemicals. (Previously, disposable gloves of this category were marked with a beaker).


The first part of the standard (EN 374-1) defines the performance requirements for chemical protective gloves, i.e. the extent to which they should protect against chemicals. Until now, the protection of a glove against chemicals could be declared with two different pictograms according to the European Standard 374. Another pictogram was used to certify that a glove protects against microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

EN 374-5

EN 374-5 While in this first part of the standard it was previously assumed that chemical protective gloves also provide appropriate protection against microorganisms (i.e. bacteria & fungi), the first part of EN 374 since 2016 refers exclusively to protect against chemicals. Microorganisms are no longer mentioned at this point.

After a fourth part of the standard (EN 374-4) was added in 2014, a fifth part was added in 2016. This fifth part of the standard now explicitly deals with microorganisms. The pictogram, which stands for the protection against microorganisms, is therefore no longer used here and is only recently included in EN 374-5.

Also the beaker pictogram is no longer available since the 2016 amendments. Accordingly, disposable gloves are no longer divided into waterproof and chemical-resistant gloves. Instead, according to the renewed European Standard 374, chemical protective gloves are now classified as Type A, Type B or Type C.

Pictograms until 2016

Beaker with a question mark: “water-resistant protective gloves with low protection against chemical hazards

Erlenmeyer flasks: The chemical protection glove provides protection against the test chemicals with the identification letters A, K and L.

microorganisms: Glove offers protection against microorganisms (bacteria & fungi).

The letters below the Erlenmeyer flask indicate the test chemicals with which the breakthrough time of the respective chemical protection glove was tested. Until 2016, the European Standard 374 named twelve different standardized test chemicals according to which the breakthrough time of a glove could be tested. These have now been extended by 6 further chemicals, which means that the first part of EN 374 now specifies a total of 18 test chemicals.


Each of these test chemicals is assigned a code letter, which allows you to identify which test chemicals were used to test the breakthrough time of the glove. You will find the code letters under the Erlenmeyer flask pictogram on your glove box.

Warnings for chemical protective gloves

EN 374 Test chemicals

EN 374-1 also stipulates that the user instructions for chemical protective gloves must contain various notices. Since very few users read through the entire user manual before wearing disposable gloves, we would like to point out the notifications that you would find in the user manual of a chemical protective glove according to EN 374 and which have to be considered in everyday work:

“This information does not provide any information on the actual duration of protection at the workplace or on the distinction between mixtures and pure chemicals.

“It is recommended to check whether the gloves are suitable for the intended use, as the conditions at the workplace may differ from those in the type test, depending on temperature, abrasion and degradation.”

“Resistance to chemicals has been evaluated under laboratory conditions on samples taken from the palm only and relates only to the chemicals tested. It may be different if the chemical is used in a mixture.”
“If protective gloves have already been used, they may offer less Resistance to hazardous chemicals due to changes in their physical properties. Degradation, movement, threading, friction, etc. caused by contact with chemicals can significantly reduce the actual application time. For aggressive chemicals, degradation may be the most important factor to consider when selecting chemical resistant gloves”.

Determination of the Resistance EN 374-2

Within the framework of EN 374-2, a water/air leak test is used to determine whether a disposable glove is leakproof and thus able to withstand the penetration of chemicals.


The second part of the standard (EN 374-2) provides information about the glove’s Resistance to penetration by chemicals and defines corresponding test procedures.
For this purpose, the chemical protection glove is subjected to a leak test, among other things.

Within the scope of this test, a water leak test and an air leak test are carried out. This means that either water or air is allowed to flow into the glove and then it is checked whether water/air has leaked or whether the glove is actually tight.

It is evident that a disposable glove, which is intended to protect the user from chemicals, is airtight as well as waterproof. A chemical protection glove must, therefore, always comply with this standard. There is no separate pictogram for waterproof or airtightness. Prior to the new European Standard 374, this water and air tightness was marked with the beaker pictogram.


Determination of the Resistance of materials to permeation by chemicals EN 374-3

By 2016, EN 374-3 defined six different permeation levels that a glove can meet. Permeation here means that a liquid chemical penetrates the glove.

The permeation level thus indicates how long the disposable glove can withstand three of the test chemicals at least.


Since the 2016 amendments, this third part of the European Standard 374 has been deleted. Instead, reference is made to EN 16523-1. The standard EN 16523-1 describes the test procedure in more detail than was previously the case in EN 374-3.


According to EN 16523-1, a glove sample must be clamped between a container with the corresponding test chemicals (gaseous or liquid) and a collection container to test the permeation level. Subsequently, it is checked whether the glove sample has prevented the chemical from penetrating the collection container or how concentrated the test chemical is in the collection container.


Permeation level

1 > 10 min | 2 > 30 min | 3 > 60 min | 4 > 120 min | 5 > 240 min | 6 > 480 min

For you, as a user, this change has no significant relevance—only the marking changes. The permeation level is therefore no longer specified within the scope of EN 374-3, but with EN 16523-1.

Since 2016, EN 374-3 refers to EN 16523-1. The test procedure described in this standard is used to test how long a chemical protective glove can withstand at least three different test chemicals.

Determination of Resistance to degradation by chemicals EN 374-4

Since 2014 the European Standard 374 no longer has only 3 parts but has been extended by this part.

The fourth part of the European Standard 374 (EN 374-4) deals with the question to what extent the mechanical-physical material properties of the chemical protective glove change when in contact with the test chemicals (degradation).


Among other things, a change in the glove material can be said to occur if the disposable glove becomes brittle or if the elasticity and tear resistance of the disposable glove is impaired. The test takes into account both changes that occur only during chemical contact and changes that persist beyond direct contact.


The addition of this fourth part to European Standard 374 now enables manufacturers to assess better how long a chemical protective glove can be worn when handling various chemicals, whether it can be reused and if/when/where a glove can be used.


While glove manufacturers previously used a wide range of test and evaluation criteria to assess the degradation of chemical protective gloves, EN 374-4 now provides a standardized measuring method for degradation.


According to this measuring method, a disposable glove is exposed to one hour of continuous contact with one of the 18 liquid test chemicals. The extent to which the glove’s puncture resistance has changed is then tested.
Conclusions of possible results are not included in EN 374-4. The test results must, therefore, be assessed individually in each case.


The determination of the Resistance to degradation is essential for those users who want to make full use of the proven breakthrough times of the glove or wear the gloves several times.


EN 374-5: Terminology and performance requirements for risks from microorganisms EN 374-5

The European Standard 374 was additionally extended by a fifth part – EN 374-5.

Disposable gloves that comply with EN 374-5 protect the user against bacteria, fungi and, if applicable, viruses.


If a disposable glove meets the requirements of the former EN 374-2 (penetration), the corresponding glove box can be marked with the pictogram that promises protection against bacteria and fungi.
The protection against bacteria and fungi is tested according to the former EN 374-2 using a water leakage test and an air leakage test.


If a disposable glove also successfully passes test method B according to ISO 16604, the glove offers additional protection against viruses.
In this test procedure, the glove is exposed to a contamination liquid to which a bacteriophage (Phi-X-174) has been added. A bacteriophage is a simulation of a virus that would cause disease in a human.


If the disposable glove successfully passes this test procedure, it can be worn to protect against viruses. This is made clear by the “VIRUS” lettering below the pictogram.