Nitrile gloves being inspected for ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319Nitrile gloves being inspected for ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319


Medical gloves, sometimes called examination gloves, exam gloves or similar serve as crucial protective barriers in healthcare. Two important standards, ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319, set quality and safety criteria for these gloves, but for different materials. Understanding the distinctions between these standards is key to choosing the right gloves for medical use.

What is ASTM D3578?

ASTM D3578 is the standard for natural rubber latex examination gloves. This specification ensures that latex gloves meet essential requirements for safety and performance, emphasizing their elasticity, strength, and ability to provide a reliable barrier against contaminants.

Key focuses of ASTM D3578 include:

Physical properties like tensile strength and elongation.

Durability against tearing.

Dimensional specifications for proper fit.

While ASTM D3578 primarily focuses on the tensile strength and elongation of the gloves, these properties are indirectly related to the glove's resistance to tearing. Tensile strength measures the glove's maximum strength before breaking when stretched, and elongation measures how much it can stretch before breaking. Higher values in these measurements can indicate a glove's better overall durability and resistance to tearing during use. However, ASTM D3578 does not have a specific test dedicated solely to measuring tear resistance. Gloves that meet this standard will have the words medical, exam or examination gloves or similar on the packaging.

What is ASTM D6319?

ASTM D6319 specifies requirements for nitrile rubber examination gloves. Unlike latex gloves, nitrile gloves are made from a synthetic rubber, offering a different set of properties suitable for a variety of medical tasks. This standard ensures nitrile gloves are adequately durable and safe for medical examinations.

Key focuses of ASTM D6319 include:

Tensile strength and elongation to ensure durability.

Protection against holes and tears.

Sizing and fit for user comfort.

More About Durability and Nitrile Gloves

Similar to ASTM D3578, ASTM D6319 specifies tests for tensile strength and elongation, focusing on the glove's ability to withstand stretching and pulling without tearing. The standard ensures that nitrile gloves have adequate physical strength to resist tears during typical medical procedures. Like ASTM D3578, ASTM D6319 also does not include a distinct test that exclusively evaluates tear resistance. Instead, it ensures the gloves meet certain benchmarks for tensile strength and elongation, contributing to their overall tear resistance. Gloves that meet this standard will also have the words medical, exam or examination gloves or similar on the packaging.

The Differences: Material and Performance

The fundamental difference between ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319 lies in the material of the gloves they cover—natural rubber latex for the former versus nitrile rubber for the latter. While both standards aim to ensure gloves are safe and effective for medical use, they cater to different glove types with unique properties and applications.

Importance of Understanding These Standards

For healthcare professionals, choosing the right type of glove is crucial for both patient safety and personal protection. Knowing the standards that apply to each glove type helps in making informed decisions based on specific needs, whether it's the natural flexibility and feel of latex or the durability and protection offered by nitrile gloves.

ASTM standards in relation to Industrial Grade Latex Gloves and Industrial Grade Nitrile Gloves

While ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319 standards are benchmarks for medical examination gloves, their emphasis on quality, safety, and performance transcends healthcare, offering significant benefits to industrial glove buyers. Industries require strong gloves that can withstand rigorous use and provide protection against a range of hazards.

ASTM Standards: A Marker of Quality

ASTM standards for medical gloves (D3578 for latex and D6319 for nitrile) focus on physical properties such as tensile strength and elongation. For industrial applications—where gloves are often subjected to mechanical stress, chemicals, and extreme conditions—these properties are indicators of a glove's durability and protective capabilities.

Tensile Strength and Elongation: Why They Matter in Industry

Tensile strength and elongation are not just critical forpreventing tears during medical exams; they are also crucial in industrial settings where gloves might be stretched or pulled with significant force. Gloves that meet ASTM standards are likely to offer superior resistance to ripping and tearing, so all else being equal they are more suitable for tasks ranging from machinery operation to material handling.


The distinctions between ASTM D3578 and ASTM D6319 highlight the comprehensive approach to ensuring quality and safety across different types of disposable gloves. By adhering to these standards, glove manufacturers commit to providing professionals with reliable options for protection. For our industrial customers please keep in mind that just because a glove is labeled for medical use does not mean the glove will not perform well in an industrial setting.