UMMS Affiliation

Infection Control Department; Department of Information Services

Publication Date


Document Type



Gloves, Surgical; Hepatitis B virus; Humans; *Latex; Permeability; Poliovirus; *Polyvinyls; Quality Assurance, Health Care; Sensitivity and Specificity; Simplexvirus; *Viruses


Databases and Information Systems | Infectious Disease | Medical Microbiology


We have reported previously (H. R. Kotilainen, J. P. Brinker, J. L. Avato, and N. M. Gantz, Arch. Intern. Med. 149:2749-2753, 1989) that the quality of nonsterile examination gloves available for clinical use may be extremely variable. In view of the concern over human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus transmission to health care workers, the continuing variability of gloves available for use, and the need for a simple and safe test, we have evaluated 2,500 vinyl (five brands) and 2,000 latex (four brands) gloves by the 300-ml and the newly proposed 1,000-ml water tests and for permeability to herpes simplex virus type 1 and poliovirus type 1, respectively. While all 300-ml watertight gloves were unlikely to leak herpes simplex virus type 1 (1.3% vinyl; 0.5% latex), poliovirus was recovered much more frequently (8.9% vinyl, 6.1% latex). In all gloves that passed the 1,000-ml test, herpes simplex virus type 1 was not recovered. Poliovirus was recovered infrequently (1.4% vinyl, 1.5% latex). Preliminary analyses suggest that the 1,000-ml water test has significantly increased sensitivity over the 300-ml water test in the detection of small holes in both vinyl and latex gloves that may allow the passage of viral particles. Gloves that pass a 1,000-ml water challenge are unlikely to allow the passage of a small virus such as poliovirus. Given that human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus and herpes simplex virus type 1 are larger particles than poliovirus, gloves that pass the 1,000-ml water test theoretically could provide better protection.


Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 Jun;56(6):1627-30.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Applied and environmental microbiology

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID




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