Downstream Users

Actions to take

Managing the impact on your business

Since the implementation of EU REACH in 2007 many businesses have seen an impact on  products and supply chains. More recently, with the UK exit from the European Union businesses will need to meet the separate regulatory requirements of the UK and EU markets. Downstream Users should be thinking about the potential impact of REACH, assessing the risk to their own business and planning ways to manage those effects. This continued action should help Downstream Users minimise the likelihood of REACH compromising production or product continuity. Please note on our Brexit page the transitional arrangements introduced by the UK government to mitigate the impact of Brexit for GB companies who were formerly Downstream users under EU REACH. Whether you are now a Downstream User in the UK market or the EU market, here are a few steps to help you on your way. 


Identify business-critical substances

Look at what you buy. By compiling an inventory of the substances you buy and their uses you can then identify the vulnerabilities of your business: products you buy, products you sell, services you offer, processes you perform.If you buy proprietary mixtures (formulations), knowing what substances you buy can be difficult. If you only know a mixture you buy is critical to your business, there may be a number of (unknown) business-critical substances.


Start collating information on “use”

Do you use chemicals to make other products, such as formulations or finished goods? Do you run processes on your site using chemicals? Do you re-pack and sell substances to customers, either on their own or in mixtures?

If you want your supply chain’s registrant to include your uses in their registration dossier, they will need to know how you use the substance! It’s not just your uses, either, but any processes or products your customers use the substance if they are also to be included in the registration.

Use a standardised, structured method to describe your uses – both to make life easier for the registrant and to ensure you don’t share any confidential information. The Use Descriptor system described in Chapter R.12 of ECHA’s guidance on the Chemical Safety Assessment should cover most Downstream Uses.


Engage with the supply chain

Talk to your customers, to your suppliers and to your colleagues about REACH, its potential impact and your company’s plans. Foster existing relationships and establish new ones if required. 

Once you have the necessary information on uses to be included in your registrant’s dossier, you’ll need to let them know!Use a structured, systematic approach in communicating with customers and suppliers to help your supply chain manage REACH effectively. 

Communication in the supply chain is left for industry to manage – the regulators don’t provide tools or deadlines for doing so. However, many industry groups and associations, such as Cefic, have prepared guidance and IT tools to help.


Key obligations for Downstream Users

Five key concerns for DU for compliance with REACH:

  1. Use the information received from suppliers via safety data sheet (SDS) and extended safety data sheets and (SDS with exposure scenarios) to ensure your use of chemicals is both safe and in scope of the registration. If your use is not covered you can ask your supplier to include your use, or you may need to inform ECHA/HSE and perhaps even do your own chemical safety report.
  2. Inform your supplier of any new hazard information, if the risk management measures are not appropriate for your use, or of any adverse effects occur when using the recommended risk management measures.
  3. Ensure that you pass on all relevant hazard information, safe conditions of use and any risk management measures to your customers. If you formulate mixtures you do not need to prepare an exposure scenario for your mixture - but you can do so if you wish.
  4. Notify ECHA/HSE if you use a Candidate List substance to produce an article if it has not been registered for that use where the substance is used in quantities over one tonne per producer per year and is present in the article above a concentration of 0.1 %.
  5. Do not use a substance subject to authorisation after the “sunset date” unless an exemption applies or you or an actor up your supply chain has an authorisation covering your use.

Ongoing compliance

Being aware of what’s happening in your supply chain can help you minimise the likelihood of REACH compromising your business.

There are a number of ways to manage the effects of REACH - REACHReady can help to identify the solution that is right for you and help you move towards being compliant with REACH.



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