Downstream user

Definition of “Downstream user” 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.
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. providing customers with information regarding hazards, safe usage conditions, and appropriate risk management advice for your preparations. If you function as a formulator, ensure that certain highly hazardous substances, candidates for authorization, do not exceed a 0.1%w/w concentration in the articles you manufacture.

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 do it in specific period (table bellow)

Deadlines for users communication to supplier Deadlines for supliers registrations
30.11. 2009 30.11. 2010
31.05. 2012 31.05. 2013
31.05. 2017 31.05. 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 downstream users can’t apply risk measures or find them unsuitable, they have multiple options to choose from:

  1. Assess the current usage conditions, noting implemented ones, and detail necessary measures according to ES standards. (Inspectors may require seeing documentation and evaluation).
  2. Prepare your own chemical safety report. Keep it accessible for inspectors. They have to notify ECHA about safety assessment to inform downstream users.

  3. Change supplier who will have more appropriate ES.

Downstream users shouldn’t wait for SDS after registration. Instead, they can actively track its use through industrial unions/organizations. They should also prepare usage conditions and talk to suppliers for registration dossier updates.

For communication with suppliers of using the substance. The downstream user have to provide sufficient and relevant information. The duration and frequency of consumption. Estimate the amount of substance used per day and precautions which are already at work place.