Understanding Chemical Glove Standards

Chemical gloves in action

Chemical-resistant gloves are made with different kinds of rubber: natural, butyl, neoprene, nitrile and fluorocarbon (viton); or different types of plastic: polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene. The thicker the glove, the greater the protection, although thick gloves can reduce grip and dexterity.

Protection Against Chemicals and/or Micro‑Organisms

Protection Against Chemicals and/or Micro‑Organisms This shield identifies gloves that are resistant to chemicals and micro‑organisms. The shield must be accompanied by at least a three digit code. The codes correspond with the code letters at the bottom of this post that show which chemicals the gloves have been exposed to for at least 30 minutes without breakthrough occurring.

Low Chemical Resistance/Waterproof

Low Chemical Resistance/Waterproof The low chemical resistant or waterproof shield is used when gloves do not meet the over 30 minutes breakthrough time against the minimum of three chemicals from the list but comply with the penetration test.

Micro Organisms

Micro Organisms The micro‑organism shield is used when a glove conforms to at least a Level 2 performance for the penetration test.


Radiation This shield is for gloves that protect from ionising radiation. The glove must contain a certain amount of lead or equivalent metal (lead equivalence), this equivalence is then marked on each glove.

Table of Chemicals

Table of Chemicals

Protection Index & Breakthrough Time

Protection Index & Breakthrough Time

If you are not sure what chemical gloves are required in your workplace, contact the ATOM Safety team for expert advice and assistance.

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ATOM acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands in which we operate in Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them, their cultures; and to elders both past, present and emerging.