EN 374

Chemical Classification


The EN ISO 374 is the leading glove standard used worldwide to gauge the performance and safety of chemical-resistant gloves. It standardizes the expectations for gloves offering chemical protection and highlights the performance requirements a glove must meet when tested to specific chemical conditions and risks.

As we've highlighted across our chemical protection pages, working with chemicals significantly increases the risk of injury to employees. For this reason, both workers and safety professionals must be able to quickly determine the protection needed in any given application. EN ISO 374 helps workers understand which gloves perform best, for how long, and allows side-by-side comparison of different gloves. It also enables manufacturers and suppliers to know which gloves are needed to protect workers around predefined performance metrics.

Timeline of EN 374

The first standard covering glove protection from chemical injury was EN 374-1, published in 1994. It was then revised in 2003. The second and most recent revision, EN ISO 374-1:2016, occurred in 2016. This standard outlines terminology and protection requirements for chemical-protective gloves.

One of the most significant changes to the current standard is mandatory degradation testing for all chemical-protective gloves. Previously, the standard only required penetration and permeation testing.

EN ISO 374-1:2016

The EN ISO 374-1:2016 is the most recent standard released, replacing the EN 374:2003 standard. This most current version was created cooperatively by the International Organization for Standardization  (ISO) and The European Committee for Standardization  (CEN) under the Vienna Agreement, making it applicable in all ISO operating countries. The standard outlines all the terminology used to classify a glove as chemical resistant.

Year 2016

2016 Updates

One of the overarching reasons for the adopted new standard was to better assist users in making the appropriate glove selection for their potential hazards.According to the new guidelines, each chemical glove is now classified as either A, B, or C, based on the glove's chemical-resistance performance. The classification has been simplified to help users identify gloves designed to hold up under more stringent conditions.

Essentially, the new standard provides a higher level of precision than the previous version and explicitly outlines the three requirement standards gloves must meet for the following:

Bacteria, Fungi, and Virus

Bacteria Fungi and Virus


This test establishes performance requirements for microorganism protection against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Per standard EN ISO 374-5:2016, there are now two classifications identified:

1. Protection against bacteria and fungi

2. Protection against viruses, bacteria, and fungi

If virus protection has been tested, it will be indicated with a pictogram like the one shown above.


Gloves that claim to offer protection against microorganisms such as bacteria, virus, or fungi must:

Be tested using the same air and water leak tests as described above; and

Pass a penetration test according to ISO 16604:2004 to determine the resistance of the glove's materials to penetration against blood-borne pathogens.

New EN ISO 374-1:2016 Markings

Using the New EN 16523-12015 Test Method

As mentioned above, chemical-resistant gloves are now classified into three types: A, B, and C.  The glove's permeation performance is what determines which level of classification a glove receives. The gloves must be classified in accordance with the EN ISO 374-1 guideline.

Types of Chemical Gloves

Type A Chemical Glove
Type B Chemical Gloves
Type C Chemical Gloves

Now we will highlight the three new types of classified chemical-resistant gloves. However, before we proceed, it's important to note that a user should not necessarily assume that type A gloves offer the best protection in all situations. A type B glove may protect better against a specific chemical hazard faced at work than an A glove. What one can conclude, though, is that type A gloves have faced permeation testing against a more extensive set of chemicals, which does mean that their permeation, in general, is more advanced.

Type A

Type A Chemical Gloves

Type A gloves have been tested against the most extensive list of chemicals possible under the new standard. To be classified as type A, the glove's breakthrough time must be greater than 30 minutes, and that time must be achieved when tested against at least six chemicals.

Type B

Type B Chemical Gloves

Type B gloves have been tested against half the number of chemicals tested under type A. To be classified as type B, the glove's breakthrough time must be greater than 30 minutes, and that time must be achieved when tested against at least three chemicals.

Type C

Type C Chemical Gloves

Type C gloves are tested against the fewest number of chemicals. To be classified as type C, the glove's breakthrough time must be greater than 30 minutes when tested against at least one chemical. Type C gloves traditionally offer lower protection levels than the other types and are primarily designed for low chemical risks.

The chemicals gloves are tested against are identified by their code letters listed under the flask pictogram.

Chemical List

Chemical List

Another change with the 2016 edition is the number of chemicals used in determining performance. Under the 2003 standard, only 12 chemicals were used for testing; now, there are 18 total chemicals used. The additional chemicals (code letters M-T) were added to better represent modern industrial environments.

Below are all the chemicals tested against under the new standard.

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 paraffin
E Carbon Disulphide 75-15-0 Sulphur containing organic compound
F Toluene 108-88-3 Aromatic hydrocarbon
G Diethylamine 109-89-7 Amine
H THF 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
M Nitric Acid 65% 7697-37-2 Inorganic acid, oxidizing
N Acetic Acid 99% 64-19-7 Organic acid
O Ammonia 25% 1336-21-6 Organic base
P Hydrogen Peroxide 30% 7722-84-1 Peroxide
S Hydrogen Fluoride 40% 7664-39-3 Inorganic mineral acid
T Formaldehyde 37% 50-00-0 Aldehyde


Chemical Protection

MCR Safety's entire Chemical PPE catalog can be accessed by clicking on the above image.