Kevin Brennan
Kevin Brennan March 15, 2021

Understanding Viral Penetration Properties in Disposable Gloves

The extremely small size of viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms allows them to spread with ease. Viruses are
present in every environment, exist solely to reproduce, and are considered the most abundant biological entity on
earth.1 And sometimes – as in the case of COVID-19 – they cause widespread, deadly disease.

Given their microscopic size, many pathogens easily pass through tears and pinholes of ordinary examination gloves, even when
breaches are invisible to the naked eye. When working among hazards too small to see, individuals need gloves that provide a reliable
barrier against viral penetration. The United States sets rigorous requirements around glove quality and viral penetration standards.


ASTM F 1671
In North America, gloves delivering virus protection must meet ASTM F 1671 standards. Testing for such gloves is similar to that of ISO 16603/16604. By employing a bacteriophage on one side of the testing chamber, the test measures whether microorganisms, including viruses, pass through the glove while under a specific amount of pressure over a period of time. Look for gloves marked “examination grade” to ensure it meets ASTM F 1671 standards.

Not all gloves deliver the same level of protection. At Ansell, our scientists engineer specialized polymer formulas and employ rigorous quality control measures to ensure that every glove we certify for virus and bacteria protection meets exceptional performance standards. As a leader in safety, we are dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of potentially harmful - and lethal - microorganisms.


1. Medical News Today, “What to know about viruses,” May 30, 2017,

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