How to read chemical table of resistance?

Mapa Professional product brochures provide detailed information on the performance of protective gloves in contact with chemicals. What is the process involved?

There are two phenomenons which characterize a glove's resistance to contact with a given chemical:

  • Degradation: deterioration of the glove, manifested by modification of physical properties (eg. softening, hardening).

  • Permeation: a phenomenon which is characteristic of solvents which, depending on the type, may gradually penetrate the glove, sometimes with no visible signs of degradation.

The Mapa Professional tables also show the results of degradation and permeation tests conducted in a laboratory (see description of tests below):

Degradation index of 1 to 4 with a high score representing low degradation of the glove in contact with the chemical.

> Transit time: in minutes, obtained on the basis of the permeation test conducted as per standard ASTM F739 or EN 374 unless otherwise stipulated.

> Permeation index of 1 to 6 as per standard EN 374 where the higher the score the longer the time taken for the chemical to permeate the glove.

In order to help you choose the most appropriate gloves, Mapa offers a Chemical Resistance Index. The key to the index is as follows:


+ + Prolonged contact of the glove with the chemical is possible (within the limit of the transit time)

+ Intermittent contact of the glove with the chemical is possible (for a total period which is less than the breakthrough time)

= The glove may be used against chemical splashes

- Use of the glove is not recommended.

Explain how to interpret chemical resistance data

Your Mapa catalog offers a guide describing performance of the 5 main materials of which gloves are made in relation to numerous chemicals. This enables you to identify the material which, in theory, is best adapted to your application.

The chemical resistance charts show numerous test results obtained primarily with pure solvents, but also with acids, bases, disinfectants, etc., and where the degree of dilution in water is indicated. Mapa is continually striving to add to this information by regularly updating the charts with new test results on the chemicals used by you, the customer.

These charts cannot be used to calculate detailed data on more complex products such as solvent mixtures. Please contact Mapa's Customer Technical Service for information on which glove is best suited to such products.

The data are based on laboratory test results and should not be seen as evidence of performance in actual working conditions. You are therefore advised to run a preliminary test to ensure that the gloves are appropriate to the application?

If you would like to know which glove is best suited to a chemical application not yet included in the Mapa charts you should contact the Customer Technical Service in your particular country and provide details as follows:

• Chemical(s) concerned:  indicate the chemical name or CAS # for the chemical, along with any other chemicals used in a mix (provide a Health & Safety datasheet for the mixture). Indicate the temperature, type of contact (splash, intermittent contact, etc.), mechanical resistance required, heat, cold, etc.

• Other hazards: i.e. other chemical contacts (chemical products, type of contact...).

• Constraints related to work station:  handling operations (dexterity, touch sensitivity required), glove length, anti-slip coating, contact with food, etc…

What is BEA (Blood Exposure Accidents)?

Blood Exposure Accidents refer to any percutaneous injury or contact of mucus or damaged skin with blood or a biological liquid liable to contain any type of pathogenic agent.

The most obvious risks are highly pathogenic viruses such as HIV, Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B, the very serious consequences of which lead both employers and employees to be constantly on their guard.

The Mapa Professionnel innovation, the BioPro glove, is designed to reduce the gravity of a Blood Exposure Accident.

Gloves to protect against avian flu.

The avian influenza is caused by a virus (here the highly pathogenic H5N1) which is spreading among birds. The flu has been proven transmissible to humans primarily through inhalation but also through contact contamination. Until now, no human-to-human transmission has been evidenced, but this could change through a genetic mutation of the virus. Such contamination is possible in the environment of dead or infected birds, through airborne or contact contamination of bird secretions or feces. Typical applications where the risk exists is the removal of dead birds, slaughtering and elimination of suspected infected birds, post-mortem examination of birds, medical care to suspected infected persons (precaution).

Which gloves will protect?

The first requirement applicable to gloves to protect against the avian flu virus is to be liquidproof, i.e. in compliance with EN 374-1 for the penetration tests. Besides, the gloves must remain liquidproof during the full period of exposure. It must thus offer sufficient mechanical strength in order to prevent any damage on the glove such as cut, snag or tear that would break down the barrier. Of course, the gloves are disposable ones; they shall be discarded after use in a proper manner to prevent further contamination.

Thus thin disposable gloves (such as Trilites 994, 993 or Solo Ultra 997) are acceptable only if there are no mechanical stresses or risks associated in the job, e.g. limited to laboratory works.

Selection of the proper glove will depend upon the job to be performed, i.e. mechanical stresses and functionality required. For collecting and disposing of dead birds, as well as decontamination works of surfaces and soil, gloves such as Classics L200 or L210, Two-Tone NS-53, Optinit 472 or StanSolv A-10 are appropriate, but other gloves from the Mapa-Professionnel range may also be selected depending on the functionality requirements.

What is the shelf life for gloves?

Storage procedures are the main factor in determining glove shelf life. Gloves should be kept in their boxes protected from sunlight, artificial light, humidity and stored at temperatures between 40° F - 95° F. Storage under these conditions should provide shelf life as follows:

Natural Rubber gloves = 2 years

Neoprene, Nitrile, Vinyl (PVC), FluoroSolv (Viton), Butyl gloves = 2 1/2 years


Are gloves and packing biodegradable?

Only natural latex is significantly degraded by oxydation when subjected to sunlight (UV). However, the level of biodegradability is less than for organic waste. Gloves made of other materials including natural or synthetic fibers are only slighty biodegradable if at all.

Can the gloves be incinerated?

Used gloves and their packaging can generally be destroyed in household waste incinerators or similar equipment. However, PVC (or vinyl) gloves may pose a problem where large volume incineration is required. In fact, incineration of such gloves leads to high levels of hydrogen chloride being released, with potential damage to the incineration installations.

It's worth noting that gloves which have been contaminated during use by products which are biologically or chemically dangerous should be stored and destroyed in compliance with local regulations governing dangerous waste.

What is chlorination?

This involves washing in water containing dissolved chlorine, followed by neutralisation and rinsing to eliminate any residue. Chlorination can be carried out on the production line (in which case the inside of the glove is chlorinated) or at the post-manufacturing phase (the glove is chlorinated both inside and out). The chlorine modifies the chemical structure of the glove's surface. The process is permanent and irreversible. Chlorination is also sometimes termed halogenation and can refer to smooth finished gloves.

Why chlorination?

Rubber does not slip, particularly natural latex. Chlorination makes the glove surface slippery thus making it easier to put on. It is therefore an essential process for gloves without a cotton flocklined interior or where there is no powder to help ease them on. Single-use, "non-powdered" disposable gloves made of natural or synthetic (nitrile, etc.) rubber are chlorinated.

What are its advantages?

Does chlorination have other advantages apart from this slippery quality? Clean gloves, no powder or fibres? Food Processing, Cleanrooms, etc? Elimination of extractible soluble substances (including natural latex proteins) and adjustment to a neutral pH? Excellent skin tolerance.

Are there any drawbacks?

The fact that chlorine is used in this process can create environmental problems for the manufacturer. In addition gloves treated in this way are generally more expensive than the "powdered" version. Finally, gloves which have had their external surface chlorinated could be slippery and the grip is thus less reliable.

Used gloves as well as their packaging must not have adverse impact on the environment.

In Standard EN 407, what is corresponding to the contact-heat resistance?

The contact-heat resistance is corresponding to the second figure under the pictogram EN 407.

Standard EN 407 – Contact-heat level measures whether it takes more than 15 seconds to raise the temperature inside the glove by 10°C (50°F), in an environment at ambient temperature and with the hot part in constant contact.

The temperature of the part varies depending on the level defined in the Standard:

> Level 1 - 100°C (212°F)

> Level 2 - 250°C (480°F)

> Level 3 - 350°C (660°F)

> Level 4 - 500°C (930°F)

Some materials may melt at high temperatures and impair the glove’s mechanical properties.

EN 407 does not address degeneration of the materials: a glove may meet the Standard even though its constituent materials deteriorate at the defined temperatures.

What is the difference between a first, second and third-degree burn?

A first-degree burn affects the epidermis only.

A second-degree burn affects the dermis at some level (superficial or deep).

A third-degree burn affects both the epidermis and the dermis, destroying them completely. Regeneration is not possible.

Scalding may occur at 113°F (45°C) and accelerates as the temperature increases.

What is the temperature range for various glove polymers?

Below is a general thermal protection guideline for MAPA glove material during intermittent contact*: 

  • Butyl: Max 300° F - Min -35° F
  • Fluoroelastomer: Max 280° F - Min 15° F
  • Nitrile: Max 280° F - Min 15° F
  • Neoprene: Max 300° F - Min -25° F
  • Natural Rubber: Max 250° F – Min. -25° F
  • Polyurethane: Max 250° F – Min. -25° F
  • PVA: Max 175° F – Min. 30° F
  • PVC: Max 175° F - Min 15° F

Max = Maximum temperature the glove will withstand intermittent contact and still provide some insulation for the hand.
Min = Minimum temperature at which the polymer will remain flexible and still provide some insulation for the hand.

*The aforementioned temperature ratings are to be used as a general guideline as there are too many possible variables to predict, i.e. mass of the object being held, length of contact time, material conductance efficiency to name a few.

What is DMF?

Dimethylformamide (or DMF) is a solvent used in a variety of applications in the chemical industry. DMF is also used in the manufacturing process for gloves made of polyurethane (PU) and derivatives. DMF is a chemical which, during use, can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It is classified as harmful by inhalation and skin contact. In case of long-term or repeated exposure, DMF may have effects on the liver. Occupational exposure limits have been defined in several countries and these limits indicate maximum concentration in the air with which MAPA gloves in polyurethane are compliant.

To eradicate the risk of exposure to DMF, MAPA offers a full range of nitrile gloves (Ultrane 553, Ultrane 562, Krynit 563, Krynit 582, etc.).

What is HDPE?

HDPE is corresponding to High Density Polyethylene fibers.

Uses HDPE fibers ensuring excellent cut resistance with reduced thickness for good dexterity.