Vintage 1970s black scuba fins smear oily rubber in the pool

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On Jun 22, 10:03pm, Judy Zappacosta <zappajNOS...@Use-Author-Supplied- Address.invalid> wrote:

There are many naysayers here...I think this is only oxidation. Someone mentioned a toilet flapper (which I have encountered) with a similar problem. Although I have not seen anything I would call oily? It appears to be the black pigment separating from the encasing material, neoprene rubber. I would try a non-chlorine abrasive cleanser and then silicone. Good Luck, bob
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Address.invalid> wrote:

There are many naysayers here...I think this is only oxidation. Someone mentioned a toilet flapper (which I have encountered) with a similar problem. Although I have not seen anything I would call oily? It appears to be the black pigment separating from the encasing material, neoprene rubber. I would try a non-chlorine abrasive cleanser and then silicone. Good Luck, bob
reply: How well does that work on toilet flappers?
Steve
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On Sun, 27 Jun 2010 06:22:05 -0700 (PDT), Bob Villa

Neoprene, (polychloroprene) is produced from "divinyl acetylene, a jelly which firms into an elastic compound similar to rubber when passed over sulfur dichloride."
Neoprene itself is inert, doesn't oxidize readily and has unique elastic properties that make it useful in a wide variety of applications.
The problem Judy is experiencing is from decay and separation of the Neoprene from the compounding agents used to fabricate the fins. Those compounding agents can be hazardous. To quote Wikipedia on the subject:
"Although neoprene itself is not a skin contact sensitizer, certain neoprene adhesives contain 4% rosin (CAS No. 8050-09-7, previously known as "colophony"), which is a skin contact sensitizer under the European Union Dangerous Preparations Directive 1999/45/EC.[1]
Lead-containing compounds, such as litharge (lead(II) oxide), are used as compounding agents to prepare finished products made of neoprene, and these can have a toxic effect on human blood, kidneys, and reproductive systems."
If the smell of the degraded fins exhibits a turpentine odor, the compounding agent was resin and it is a skin and inhalation hazard.
If the smell is "metallic" or nearly odorless then the compounding agent is lead-based and it is a direct hazard to your children's health.
In any case, you are FAR better off for the sake of your children to buy them new fins and toss these old ones in the trash.
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Or, as I suggested, nail them to a fence as a decoration. A messy one.
Steve
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On Sun, 27 Jun 2010 12:02:12 -0700, "Steve B"

Not advisable since you are still exposing people to the products of the fin degradation and run-off as the sun, wind and rain erode them. Then you'd have a mess in the soil around the fence and black streak running down it. Better off to toss them in the recycle bin where people who know how to handle polymers can deal with it.
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wrote:

When I tossed the pair I bought in 1969, it was tough. But I got over it by going out and buying some long ones that had infinitely softer rubber, and were way more comfortable than those old stiff ones.
Steve
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Long/soft better than short/stiff...not sure where you're going with this one...but check with the wife for a better opinion!
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wrote:

Long/soft better than short/stiff...not sure where you're going with this one...but check with the wife for a better opinion!
reply: My current wife does not dive. She has no knowledge of diving, but probably could figure it out from simple math and physics that long fins produce a different thrust than short ones. Most reasonable people come to that same conclusion. I thought my Jet Fins were top of the line until I wore some of those really long ones. They sure do a number on your thighs and calves until you adjust your leg movements, and they sure keep your tendency to bicycle down. But for ease of movement, and economy of motion, particularly for spearfishing and free diving, I really liked them.
Steve
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wrote:
:Neoprene, (polychloroprene) is produced from "divinyl acetylene, a :jelly which firms into an elastic compound similar to rubber when :passed over sulfur dichloride." : :Neoprene itself is inert, doesn't oxidize readily and has unique :elastic properties that make it useful in a wide variety of :applications. : :The problem Judy is experiencing is from decay and separation of the :Neoprene from the compounding agents used to fabricate the fins.
These fins are made of neoprene?
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wrote:

Most likely. Neoprene dates from the 1930's and is the most widely used synthetic rubber. Wetsuits and dry suits are made from nitrogen-foamed neoprene.
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wrote:
:Most likely. Neoprene dates from the 1930's and is the most widely :used synthetic rubber. Wetsuits and dry suits are made from :nitrogen-foamed neoprene.
But these are not wetsuits or drysuits. These are fins. I just don't see fins being made of neoprene.
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wrote:

Nearly all "rubber" today (and since 1940 or so) is neoprene. The fins are hard molded neoprene made from "chips" of the stuff mixed with "compounding" agents for color and elasticity or durability. There are about a dozen different kinds of neoprene from DuPont. Pure neoprene chips are a yellow-white or cream color powder, much like coffee creamer.
Many composite airframes or structures use neoprene compounds in addition to the carbon fiber laminations.
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