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Downstream user

Downstream user categories

Ecomatters supports companies with REACH registration duties as well as downstream users (DUs). The most common categories of DUs are:

  • Formulators, who produce mixtures that are usually supplied further downstream (e.g. paints, adhesives, and detergents).
  • Professional/industrial end-users, who use substances or mixtures but do not supply them further downstream (e.g. professional painters, mechanics, cleaners and industrial companies using solvents and chemical reagents).
  • Producers of articles, who incorporate substances or mixtures into or onto materials to form an article (e.g. textile, industrial equipment, electronic appliances, and vehicles).
  • Re-fillers who transfer substances or mixtures from one container to another, generally in the course of repackaging or rebranding.

NB: Distributors, re-branders, retailers, and storage providers are not DUs, but still have obligations under REACH. Although consumers are end-users, they are not DUs under REACH and they have no regulatory obligations.

Your responsibilities as a downstream user

As a downstream user (DU), it is your responsibility to identify and implement appropriate measures to control the risks associated with the use of chemicals. In practice, this involves the following steps:

  1. Check SDS Coverage: Verify whether your specific use or category of use is covered in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Some SDSs may provide a generic description of use (e.g., ‘For industrial use’), while others, especially extended SDSs (e-SDSs) accompanied by Exposure Scenarios (ESs), may define the use in more detail (e.g., ‘Professional uses: Public domain, Product category 35 – Washing and cleaning products’).
  2. Verify Implementation of RMMs: If your use matches the identified use on the SDS, ensure that you are implementing the prescribed Risk Management Measures (RMMs) as outlined in the SDS.

Read more about Exposure Scenarios (ESs) in our news article.

SDSs

Where RMMs are prescribed on the SDS, you must implement these. Depending on the hazard profile and the identified use of the chemical, this may involve the ventilation of the workspace, monitoring of emission concentrations or the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as protective gloves, goggles or clothing. In the Netherlands, the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) stipulates inclusion of these measures in a company’s obligatory Risk Assessment and Evaluation.

If your use has not been covered by the SDS (for example if you are a professional painter, and the SDS of your solvent only covers industrial use in a closed batch process), you must:

Contact your supplier and inform him of your use. The supplier has to assess this newly identified use within one month or before the next supply, whichever is later. Incidentally, in case your particular use of the chemical is considered a risk to human health or the environment, the supplier may decide to define yours as a “use advised against”. It this case, you will have to use an alternative product.

Alternatively to informing you supplier of your use, you may find another supplier who provides the substance with safety documentation that covers your use, or you may prepare a Downstream User Chemical Safety Report (DU CSR). However, this requires some expertise.

Do you place substances or mixtures on the market?

If you place substances, mixtures or articles on the market, you must not only consider the activities within the boundaries of your own organisation, but also those of your customers. This means that you must identify your clients’ uses of the chemicals you supply further downstream, and check whether these uses have also been covered on your supplier’s SDS (step 1). If this is not the case (for example if you produce household detergents for the consumer market, and the SDS exclusively covers the use of the substance in a professional setting), you must inform your supplier, or perform a Chemical Safety Assessment for this use yourself (step 3). Finally, you must provide appropriate information to your customers to enable safe use by means of a product SDS.

Ecomatters support in downstream user REACH

DU REACH compliance is not always straight forward. Ecomatters offers a wide range of services including:

  • Identification of your specific obligations
  • Implementation of Risk Management Measures (RMMs)
  • Downstream User Chemical Safety Report (DU CSR)
  • Support in communication with your supplier

REACH services

Contact us

Marco Mense

Marco Mense

Senior Consultant

Wouter van Kootwijk

Sustainability Consultant

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