CHS Blog

What are Medical Grade Exam Gloves

Posted on 28th , April 2012

Medical Grade Gloves are generally used in hospitals, dentists, clean rooms and laboratories and are the ultimate in hand protection. Their job is to protect the wearer and stop them coming into contact with infection and disease.

Although used by healthcare professionals, Exam Gloves are not necessarily sterile so they are classed as non-surgical and cannot be used in operating theatres for surgical operations.

Medical Grade Exam Gloves were originally designed for medical examinations but they can be used by anybody that wants peace of mind that they will be fully protected.

The term medical-grade means that the glove will act as a consistently protective barricade which, through the fabric, stops the transmission of microorganisms found in blood or other bodily fluids which can infect and cause disease. This includes infections such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
Medical Grade Exam Gloves are regulated for quality under section 21 CFR 800.20 of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA standards mirror the standards by the Association of Testing Materials (ASTM).

Medical Grade Exam Gloves are strictly tested to pass certain requirements in durability, protection and appearance. Gloves that do not meet the grade are described as general purpose gloves which can have many uses in the home and workplaces, particularly in industries such as beauty and food industries.

Manufacturers of Medical Grade Exam Gloves must also have been given 510k certification. This certification refers to section 510(k) of the FDA Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and its purpose is to establish if the medical product they wish to manufacture is "substantially equivalent" to an existing product which has already been approved.

Gloves may have a powder called Donning Powder applied to make them easier to put on and also to increases shelf life and stop gloves sticking together. The ASTM D6124 standard specifies acceptable levels of powder for both examination and surgical grade gloves. A powdered glove is more vulnerable and more likely to spread allergens so it is therefore more likely to fail certain quality tests by the FDA. Powdered gloves are becoming increasingly un-popular and are hardly ever used in the healthcare industry now.

Medical Grade Exam Gloves can be made using latex or can be latex free. Made from natural rubber, latex is widely considered to provide the greatest fit of any disposable glove but an increasing proportion of people are becoming allergic to latex so latex free versions are becoming ever more popular.
Latex free gloves can be made from Vinyl or Nitrile. Nitrile is an oil-based 100% synthetic polymer product considered to be the highest quality replacement for latex. It has similar qualities as latex so the gloves are stretchy and fit well to the skin. Vinyl gloves are a looser fit than latex and are designed for more short-term uses.

Sizes of Medical Grade Exam Gloves are standardized by the ASTM.

To find the necessary glove size, the width of the hand should be measured from the area between and index finger and the thumb.










� 10mm






� 5mm






� 10mm

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