Hello Lego Historian!
Thanks so much for your reply and interest in my topic! Here is an interesting bit of info on the topic that I was able to dig up. It fits what you stated that the switchover in 1973 by Denmark might not have pertained to the British chemical company!
TOXIC METAL MYSTERY & LEGO (September 1981)
The Greenpeace (London) has just produced a factsheet About the toxic metal Cadmium, and its uses in everyday household articles. The factsheet ' The Yelow Peril : Cadmium in Lego and Household articles' is based upon research done in germany and published in the German magazine Neugier (April/May 1983).
The factsheet shows how many household plastic articles such as writing utensils, toothbrushes and toys, contain Cadmium; this is particularly true of red and yellow coloured items. The article also revealed that, amongst those products tested and found to contain Cadmium, was Lego. This is interesting, as Lego UK claim that the use of Cadmium in the manufaturing of their products was elimninated five years ago! Even if no more Cadmium is found in recently produced Lego, these toys manufactured six or more years ago are more likely to be still in use: Lego, like many other plastic items, remains functional for a long time.
Regardless of when they are produced, the existence of toys and other household articles with cadmium in them is a matter of grave concern, and any item which is known, or strongly suspected, to contain the substance should be withdrawn immediately. Furthermore, detailed investigative research obviously needs to be done in order to ascertain the full extent of the problem.
-Yesterday my son and I restored a 1983 Galaxy Commander that we found in Grandmas attic. It was in the original box with the original instructions!
As you stated the box says Denmark right on the side. Interestingly it also says, "Conforms to PS 72-76". I wonder if this has anything to do with cadmium?
I compared the red astronaut in the Galaxy Commander, to a red astronaut from the Beta One Command base to a red knight from my Kings Castle and a new red mini-figure, all were very close in color and I am a professional auto painter so I know color. Do you have any of the red legos that definately contain cadmium? How much darker are they? What do they look like? I am curious...
Also concerning cadmium itself. Being an auto painter and restorer of classic cars I have become somewhat of an expert on environmental toxins, or maybe just a paranoid crackpot in an effort to protect myself and family. Cadmium is definately one of the most toxic elements on earth, my friend Roger was poisoned by cadmium and lost the function of his kidneys in his late 20s and it now bed ridden and on dialysis in his 40s!! The bricks in the 1979 set spin tested, contained 7000 parts per million and the acceptable limit for cadmium in the body is less than 3 parts per billion!!! Definately does not belong in a kids mouth, the chemical company was trying to protect itself... n
uploaded pic of Galaxy Commander! Check it out!