The EN455 standards are used for disposable gloves designed for medical purposes. There are currently 4 standards in the series.
EN455 Medical Glove for Single Use. Part 1 Requirements and testing for freedom from holes.
Gloves must pass this test in order to prove they are an effective barrier against microorganisms. A statistical sample taken from a batch of gloves is checked for pinholes and leaks by filling with water. Gloves must achieve an acceptable quality limit (AQL) of 1.5 for examination gloves or 0.65 for surgical gloves. This is equivalent to a maximum risk of 1.5% or 0.65% that any glove contains a hole allowing water and therefore micro-organisms through the film.
EN455 Medical Glove for Single Use. Part 2 Requirements and testing for physical properties
This standard includes tests for glove dimensions and physical strength. The requirements depend on glove classification and material used to make the glove.
Force at break requirements by glove type
|Surgical Glove||Examination Glove
|Examination gloves made from thermoplastic (e.g. Vinyl)|
|≥9 N||≥6 N||≥3.6 N|
Table 1 - Dimensions of surgical gloves
|5||≥ 250||67 ± 4|
|5.5||≥ 250||72 ± 4|
|6||≥ 260||77 ± 5|
|6.5||≥ 260||83 ± 5|
|7||≥ 270||89 ± 5|
|7.5||≥ 270||95 ± 5|
|8||≥ 270||102 ± 6|
|8.5||≥ 280||108 ± 6|
|9||≥ 280||114 ± 6|
|9.5||≥ 280||121 ± 6|
Table 2 - Dimensions of examination/procedure gloves
|Extra Small||≥ 240||≤ ± 80|
|Small||≥ 240||80 ± 10|
|Medium||≥ 240||95 ± 10|
|Large||≥ 240||110 ± 10|
|Extra Large||≥ 240||≥ 110|
EN455 Medical Glove for Single Use. Part 3 Requirements and testing for Biological Evaluation.
This standard includes tests for potentially hazardous materials that may affect the wearer or be transferred to a patient. These materials include:
- Endotoxins: toxic materials left behind by certain bacteria that can cause fever in humans (sterile gloves only)
- Latex proteins: Because natural rubber latex is a natural product it contains proteins and enzymes that can cause a severe allergic reaction in susceptible people (Type I allergy)
- Powder Residues: For powder-free gloves the total quantity of powder residues determined according to the test method under 5.2 shall not exceed 2 mg per glove. Any glove containing more than 2 mg powder is a powdered glove.
- Chemical Residues: Most commonly, accelerators used in the manufacture of the product. This can cause allergic dermatitis in susceptible individuals (Type IV allergy). There is no specified test, however manufacturers must be able to provide evidence of steps taken to reduce risks to the end user from any chemicals used in the manufacturing process.
The aspects above are tested through a series of standards ISO10993-1, ISO10993-5 and ISO10993-10 biological evaluation for irritation and skin sensitisation and ISO 21171 Determination of removable surface powder.
EN455 Medical Glove for Single Use. Part 4 Determination of shelf life
This standard requires stability testing to determine shelf life in warehouse or end user conditions. Shelf-life claims must be substantiated by testing samples aged in real time as soon as those gloves become available. The maximum shelf life that can be claimed for medical gloves is 5 years from date of manufacture.
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