Downstream user

Definition under REACH

Downstream user: means any natural or legal person established within the Community, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who uses a substance, either on its own or in a preparation, in the course of his industrial or professional activities. A distributor or a consumer is not a downstream user. A re-importer exempted pursuant to Article 2 (7)(c) shall be regarded as a downstream user.

Thus, the downstream user can be any user of chemicals, whether as a producer of mixtures (preparations) – e.g. manufacturers of cleaners or as a user of chemicals in other industrial processes, or producer of articles such as electronic components.

Main obligations of downstream users (according to GUIDELINE)

As a downstream user, your main obligations under REACH are to:

  1. Follow the instructions in the safety data sheets (SDS)you receive and in the exposure scenarios which will be attached to some safety data sheets. If your use is not covered by an exposure scenario, you can communicate with your supplier with the aim of having your use covered by an exposure scenario or you may need to develop your own chemical safety report.
  2. Contact your suppliers if you have new information on the hazard of the substance or preparation or if you believe that the risk management measures are not appropriate.
  3. Provide your customers with information
  4. on hazards, safe conditions of use and appropriate risk management advice for your preparations, if you are a formulator
  5. if the content of certain very dangerous substances, which are candidates for authorisation, exceeds a concentration of 0.1 %w/w in the articles you produce.

As a downstream user (use chemicals to professional activities) you should inform your suppliers about your use of the substance or mixtures, if you want to incorporate it in the chemical safety assessment. On the other hand the downstream users can carry out the assessment later and can perform their duties alone.

Downstream users for communication have to use a written form and have to od it in specific period (table bellow)

Deadlines for users communication to supplierDeadlines for supliers registrations
30.11. 200930.11. 2010
31.05. 201231.05. 2013
31.05. 201731.05. 2018

Why is the information on your application so important??

REACH requires manufacturers and importers of hazardous substances to prepare chemical safety report and exposure scenarios which describe the conditions necessary to control the risk (risk management measures) for the use of chemical substances. Exposure scenarios (ES) are attached to the safety data sheet (SDS) and include safety instructions regarding use of chemical substances which are subject of communication between suppliers and downstream users after registration.
Downstream user who receives such an extended safety data sheet is required to implement the conditions and risk management measures, which are referred to therein and to provide such information down the supply chain, (if relevant).

If the downstream users are not able to implement risk management measures, or they not considered it as a appropriate, they can choose several options:

  1. Evaluate and document the conditions of use, which are already implemented as well as appropriate measures required by the ES. (Inspectors may require seeing documentation and evaluation).
  2. Prepare your own chemical safety report, the report have to be available to inspectors on request and they have to notify the ECHA that the safety assessment was carried out to downstream users.
  3. Change supplier who will have more appropriate ES.

It is not advisable that the downstream users wait until them receive the SDS after registration, but they can actively monitor and map the situation of its use in the relevant industrial unions/organizations (they can prepared the general conditions for several types of use) and communicate with suppliers regarding the inclusion of use in the registration dossier.

For communication with suppliers of using the substance, the downstream user have to provide sufficient and relevant information, which should include, for example.: General types of technical processes and products in which the substance is used, the duration and frequency of consumption, estimate the amount of substance used per day and precautions which are already at work place.