Which activities qualify as downstream use?

To categorise as a downstream user (DU) under REACH, you must source the substances you use from a company that has registered these chemicals. The most common categories of DUs are:

  • Formulators, who produce mixtures which are usually supplied further downstream (e.g. paints, adhesives and detergents).
  • 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.
  • Professional or 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).

Please note: distributors, re-branders, retailers and storage providers are not defined as REACH DUs, but they do have REACH obligations. Although consumers technically qualify as end-users, they are not DUs under REACH and hence have no regulatory obligations. Re-importers of chemicals, that is importers of substances that are REACH registered prior to export out of the EU, are considered DU as well.