Glossary of Terms R-Z

Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST)

A radio immunoassay designed to detect allergens responsible for tissue hypersensitivity. The protein allergen is bound to a surface such as plastic plates or spheres. The patient’s serum is added. If the serum contains antibody to the allergen, the antibodies will attach to the allergen. The level of attachment is measured and the amount quantified. The test may be designed the other way where the lgE antibodies are placed on the surface. Then an extract of the product, such as a glove, is added to the test to determine if allergens are present.


To increase the specific sensitivity of an individual to an antigen or allergen as the result of exposure. Sensitization is asymptomatic (without symptoms) until threshold level is reached through repeated exposure. Subsequent exposure may elicit symptoms.


Glove size is determined by measuring the circumference of the hand around the palm area with a tape measure. For example, if your hand circumference is 9”, your closest glove size is a 9. Glove sizing varies, depending on manufacturer, origin, and style. Typically, examination gloves are sized as X-Small through X-Large and surgical gloves are sized from sizes 5.5 through 9.0.


The use of a physical or chemical procedure to destroy all microbial life, including highly resistant bacterial spores.


The manual or automated process of removing gloves from the formers, where the outside of the glove becomes the inside of the glove.

Synthetic Rubber

Manufactured and not of natural origin; produced by chemical synthesis. Synthetic gloves include, but are not limited to, vinyl (PVC), neoprene (chloroprene), nitrile, polyisoprene, styrene butadiene (SBR) and polyethylene.

Tactile Sensitivity

The degree to which an object or substance can be discerned with sense of touch.

Tensile Strength

The measurement of the amount of stretch or pull required to rupture or break the glove material.


The visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something (e.g. a glove) represented by an uneven surface.

Thermally Activated

“Body Heat Activated”. The increase in temperature of the glove, by body heat when worn, improving the fit and comfort. This is particularly applicable to gloves manufactured with nitrile and some stretch vinyl.


The measurement of glove surface depth protecting skin from exposure to elements. Often given in mils. Conversion: 1mil = 0.001in. = 0.025mm.

Type I Hypersensitivity (Protein Allergy)

An lgE-mediated immediate hypersensitivity reaction, characterized by contact urticaria (hives), angioedema, rhinitis, respiratory complications, drop in blood pressure and rapid heart rate which may potentially progress to anaphylaxis. Severe cases can be fatal. Examples include Type I allergies to: penicillin, peanuts, strawberries, bee stings and natural rubber latex proteins.

Type IV Hypersensitivity (Chemical Allergy)

A cell-mediated delayed hypersensitivity reaction, characterized by dermatitis, eczema, erythema, vesiculation (blisters), keratosis, hyperplasty (thickening of skin) and cracking. The area affected usually increases with repeated exposure. Examples include Type IV allergies to: poison oak, nickel, soaps and fragrances.

Universal Precautions

A method of infection control in which all human blood and certain other potentially infectious materials are considered infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood borne pathogens. It encompasses a variety of practices to prevent occupational exposure, such as the use of personal protective equipment, proper disposal of sharps, housekeeping, etc.


An allergic disorder marked by raised edematous patches of skin or mucous membrane and intense itching caused by contact with a specific precipitating factor. Also know as hives.

Vinyl Gloves

Usually referring to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gloves. PVC is used as a latex substitute in many medical and industrial applications. Although the material itself is a barrier to most microorganisms, its non-elastic properties do not allow for maintenance of barrier integrity after extended use, or in rigorous procedures. Vinyl Gloves are sometimes known as “Synthetic Gloves”.

Viral Penetration

The ability of a virus to pass through a solid, in this case, a glove.


Vulcanization was a key discovery in the manufacture of rubber products. Chemical agents such as sulfur are used to create strong chemical cross-links between the intertwined polymers of some rubbers. This chemical transformation results in a network structure much stronger and more elastic than that of the initial (raw) material.

Water Extractable Proteins

The measurable amount of proteins, in terms of micrograms or milligrams, produced by water extraction on natural rubber latex gloves. ASTM D5712 provides an analytical test for determining the amount of total water extractable protein associated with natural rubber and its products. The test method involves an extraction and precipitation procedure followed by an assay of protein content (Modified Lowry Protein Assay).

Water Leak Test

A test procedure recognized under ASTM D5151 and FDA protocols to determine the AQL level of an exam glove for pin holes. The latex glove is filled with a prescribed amount of water (1000ml) and must remain completely leak-proof over a defined period of time.


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