is there really a good way to decontaminate your boots?
to quote an article put out by Globe Manufacturing...
One area of concern for all footwear involves the issue of chemical contamination and cleaning. Both rubber and leather are affected by chemicals adversely. It is difficult to provide a very specific answer if one material is better than another because the ability to decontaminate boots depends on many factors including the chemical(s) involved the exposure, the manner of exposure, the condition of the footwear, and how the footwear is maintained.
Leather is a porous material and as such it will "absorb" many chemicals. The ability of leather to absorb chemicals will be affected by the surface tension of the chemical. Lower surface tension chemicals (such as many hydrocarbons) will tend to penetrate the leather more easily than water-based ones.
The leather's resistance to penetration by chemicals will lessen as the original finishes and polish wears off. Depending on the volatility of the chemical and the care of the boots, the chemicals can remain in the boot leather.
Highly volatile chemicals, such as hydrocarbon solvents (e.g., hexane, benzene, and gasoline) will tend to evaporate from the boot leather. In contrast, less volatile chemicals such as creosol and naphthalene may tend to remain in the leather until high temperature exposures drive these chemicals out of the leather.
While there is a moisture barrier to the inside of the leather, the moisture barrier does not prevent permeation — the passage of chemical molecules through a material — of the chemicals. However, the amount of permeation will be low unless the chemical exposure is sustained over a long period of time and the exposure concentrations are high. Nevertheless, the moisture barrier does prevent the penetration of liquid chemicals and ensures that even very small amounts of liquid do not contact the foot.
Rubber is equally affected by chemicals. In this case, chemicals "absorb" onto the surface and permeate through the material. The Neoprene rubber that is used as the principal rubber in firefighter boots is particularly susceptible to certain chemical classes.
For example, organic acids (formic and acetic acid), aldehydes (formaldehyde), amides (dimethylacetamide), amines (ethyl amine), esters (acetone), halogenated hydrocarbons (chloroform, carbon tetrachloride), aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (hexane, benzene, gasoline), and nitrocompounds (nitropropane) readily permeate Neoprene materials.
Neoprene generally resists permeation when exposed to ethers (ethyl ether), inorganic salts (sodium hypochlorite), inorganic bases (sodium hydroxide), and inorganic acids (sulfuric acid). When exposed to chemicals, the rubber can swell and deteriorate, which in turn increases the rate of permeation. Also, if a rubber is not cleaned (as with leather), the chemical stays in contact and will continue to permeate and degrade the material.
The general procedure for decontaminating boots is to rinse with water, wash with a liquid detergent such as Tide and scrub the surface with a soft bristle brush. The bootsshould then be air-dried for at least 24 hours, preferably at an elevated ambient temperature (100 – 120 F) to drive off any volatile chemicals.
Decontamination effectiveness is significantly affected by the chemical's volatility and water solubility. Chemicals that are volatile will evaporate. But chemicals that don't evaporate, such as oily chemicals, will tend to stay in the leather and contaminate the rubber matrix.
The general decontamination procedures won't be that effective for chemicals that have permeated the material matrix that are also water-insoluble and of low volatility. Even given apparent decontamination of the PPE, there are no standards for how much chemical must be removed and what residual levels of chemical remaining in the boots is considered acceptable.
FIRST PAIR OF BOOTS I EVER HAD WERE RUBBER, AND THEY SUCKED. THEY WERE HOT AS HELL AND UNCOMFORTABLE AND DID NOT FLEX AND CONFORM WHEN YOU WALKED LIKE THE LEATHERS DO. LEATHER BOOTS ARE BY FAR SUPPERIOR TO THE RUBBERS.
The only, and I repeat ONLY, advantage rubber has over leather, is the contamination issue. The expense of leather is far outweighed by the comfort and durability of the leather. You can wear them for hours and don't suffer the fatigue that wearing the heavy rubber boots causes. I have Warringtons, and Thoroughgoods (sp) and have heard great things about the Globe......I have worn Servus, Ranger, in the rubber, and will never go back to rubber.
I just received my first pair of leather boots, and I love them. I took my old rubber boots home, and use them
on my ranch. Everyone should have leather, technology has come a long way.By the way, they are made by
Globe Foot Ware.
Leather is best. I think everyone can agree in regards to comfort. As far as specifying for purchasing issues, I'm looking for input on what major brand and model of leather boot is the best. To change directions slightly here are a couple questions I have regarding purchasing leather boots. Whats the best boot out there and WHY? Which Leather boot is the most comfortable? Which Leather boot is the most durable? What are the drawbacks of Goodyear Welt vs Cement construction and vice versa? Which type of construction is superior and why? I've researched Thorogood, Pro Warrington, and Globe and its difficult to nail down who is the best. Can anyone help?
Like anything else in the fire really comes down to what suits your needs and your dept's need. I have worn both I like the thoorgoods and pro warringtons. Both comfy both handle wear well if you take care of em, but what sold me on the pro warringtons is the provide the same protection and provide a lot more moveability for lack of a better word.
Just received my first leather Globe boots after wearing my shoefits for the last 9 years. Wow....wish i made the switch sooner! As a driver, there's a huge difference when using the pedals since I know can feel the pedals! If nothing else, the safety I feel in driving with the globes is enough for me. I'll never go back to rubber!
I still prefer my rubbers. I have not found a pair of leather boots yet that did not rub a blister on my calves within 20 minutes. Rubber boots seem to have more room at the top. Not to mention the fact that they weigh the same when the fire is out as they did when the tones went out...
ok... I have to admit that these look like some sweet boots but I have one question... how are they on over the side calls where you have to rappel over the side in mud and brush? If you get your foot stuck in mud, will they stay on?
As you are aware, SoCal is getting a deluge now with El Nino finally starting to hit us. Mud flows is going to be a reality for firefighters, hence the question. Other than that, these look really comfortable and waterproof.