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“Help, my supplier’s SDSs are of poor quality!”

Are you are a formulator of chemical products, such as paints or detergents? Or do you use chemicals industrially or professionally, for example in your chemical laboratory, automobile repair shop or pool cleaning business? Chances are that the Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) accompanying the chemicals you purchase do not always meet the regulatory requirements. As a downstream user (DU), you may have experienced that this can severely complicate your organisation’s efforts to reach regulatory compliance.

Statistics show you are not the only one in this situation

In 2014-15, the Dutch Workplace Inspectorate (ISZW) conducted a survey among downstream SMEs regarding the use of solvents. The results indicated that:

  • 25-50% of the DUs did not have an SDS or one that was out-of-date;
  • >75% of the SDSs examined were poor quality (e.g. lacking or including incorrect toxicological information, CLP classifications, risk management measures (RMMs) and/or personal protection measures (PPM));
  • <20% of the SDSs examined included an Exposure Scenario (ES); and
  • 75% of the companies had not performed a risk assessment, registration or documented any RMMs.

Clearly, many DUs lack safety data sheets (SDSs) for the chemicals they use, while most of the SDSs that were provided by upstream suppliers fall short in terms of quality. Unsurprisingly, many downstream users find their way to Ecomatters.

What Ecomatters can do for you

As a DU, you must identify and apply the appropriate measures to control risks associated with the use of chemicals. This applies to your internal processes, and, if you place products on the market, also to the activities of your customers.

If the information on your supplier’s SDS is lacking, you must contact your supplier. However, identifying whether an SDS is truly non-compliant may be more challenging than expected. For example, did you know that the enclosure of exposure scenarios is not in all cases mandatory? And how do you know whether the reported CLP hazard classification is correct or not?

Ecomatters can help you check your supplier’s SDSs, and assist you in asking the right questions to organisations higher up the supply chain. This can be of particularly importance when you need to calculate CLP mixture classification for your products, want to update your product SDSs, or wish to generate Safety Instruction Cards (SICs).

To avoid the principle of ‘garbage in, garbage out’, Ecomatters includes an extensive ‘Raw material SDS review phase’ to our CLP Classification Service and SDS Authoring Service. In this phase, we check the various (toxicological) inputs, identify data gaps and list any questions to be asked to the supplier. In our experience, 80% of the issues are quickly resolved. In the other cases, Ecomatters proposes a clear and pragmatic solution, which in case of an inspection is well-documented and justifiable. This way, Ecomatters guarantees high quality deliverables to ensure your REACH compliance. Do you need DU REACH support? Feel free to contact us.

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Max Sonnen - Profile Picture

Max Sonnen

Managing Director
Pau Huguet Ferran - Profile Picture

Pau Huguet Ferran

Sustainability Lead Spain

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