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"Lego bricks for the '70s & '80s are the big fail"


  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,015
    It's as I've suspected all along, don't chew your Lego!   After that it's just useless information and doesn't apply to most people. 
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,459
    Not to be glib, but is there an entire generation of now-grown kids that chewed LEGO in the mid-'70's that have all of these health issues and a shorter life expectancy?

    I often read these stories and wonder how our species survived... to sell LEGO at a higher value than GOLD!!!!!
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,015
    I had Lego in the 70's and I have no health issues except tired joints. The mental issues we won't discuss. 
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,997
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,138
    “40 year-old toy in ‘Doesn't conform to current day standards' shock!”
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,997
    The LEGO bricks with Cadmium came out from 1963-73.  First ABS bricks... but only in red and yellow.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,074
    I wasn't able to download the whole study paper, and wondered if the authors addressed the question of whether cadmium from LEGO bricks could be absorbed through the skin in clinically meaningful amounts. That'd be a bigger story....
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,649
    Yes, I'd be more concerned if handling them was a problem. Though if it is, then lord knows what else I handled in my formative years that also leached these substances... bit late to worry! 
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,997
    edited January 27
    I lived thru that time during the Cadmium area... but I never chewed on LEGO.  When it comes to old time things that could have hurt you...  Cadmium would have been the last thing to hurt you.  Watches with Radium dials... and then there's DDT... which was used as a bug killer (among other things).... were a big part of Children's bedroom wallpaper and furnishings.... to keep those "germ infested insects" at bay.

    Check out this USA high end Department Store childrens room display of 1949.... 

  • GiantOrangeGiantOrange Wiltshire, UKMember Posts: 2
    Um, I'm fairly sure I chewed at least some of my LEGO in the '70s.  I've got a bit of an upset stomach at the moment so it must be true.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 8,459
    vizzitor said:
    The jokes on them, I used to swallow my Lego bricks whole. No dangerous chewing for me.
    I'd prefer to chew on a cadmium sandwich than literally s---ting a brick.  That makes for some angry hemorrhoids.
  • mr_bennmr_benn United KingdomMember Posts: 774
    I actually remembered to look up the actual paper today so I can do a bit of copy-pasting about the Lego stuff:

    "Of the toys analysed in the present study, the highest levels of total and migratable Cd were encountered in some, but not all, red and yellow studded Lego bricks. Specifically, those in sets that appear to have been purchased in the 1970s yielded migratable Cd concentrations that sometimes exceeded the EU migration limit by an order of magnitude, while those purchased in the 1990s, and that were visually indistinguishable from the older bricks, contained no detectable Cd. The introduction of high quantities of Cd in Lego bricks is likely to have coincided with the introduction of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) as a replacement for cellulose acetate as the material of construction in the 1960s (21) since Cd sulphoselenides were favorable colorants for styrenic-based polymers at the time (22); when, precisely, Cd-based chemicals in Lego were subsequently replaced by safer pigments, however, is unclear. Given their popularity, durability, collectability and compatibility with newer products, older, ABS-based Lego sets, and in particular those containing brightly-colored pieces, should be treated with caution."

    "Extraction tests were performed on 34 components of 26 toys that could be sacrificed and that were homogeneous, readily accessible and yielded sufficient quantities of plastic material on grating or slicing."  Apparently "migratable" was measured under simulated stomach conditions.  

    Here's the table (Migratable concentrations (in µg/g) and percentage bioaccessibilities (in parentheses and relative to total concentrations))  - bold indicates higher than EU limits - the red and yellow bricks really are cadmium-tastic!

    Just to put it in perspective, Wikipedia (font of all knowledge) suggests: The daily intake of cadmium through food varies by geographic region. Intake is reported to be approximately 8 to 30μg in Europe and the United States versus 59 to 113 μg in various areas of Japan.

    So probably best to avoid mincing up and then eating red and yellow bricks from the 70s!
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 795
    Interesting phrase “toys that could be sacrificed”. Did the study authors consider some LEGO sets to be too valuable or sacred to be sacrificed? :)
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