The obligations of distributors in the REACH communication

REACH knowledge base – The obligations of distributors in the REACH communication


REACH distinguishes the information range which should be forwarded “downstream” or “upwards” in the supply chain.
The information is forwarded downstream to the end user from the manufacturer (as the primary data owner), possibly through one or more distributors (mainly in the form of a safety data sheet).
At the same time the registrant needs certain data from the users of the substance/mixture (e.g. identified uses, technologies used during use, etc.), to be able to prepare the exposure scenarios for the identified uses as part of the chemical safety assessment.

It should be noted that a wider range of data and information change is needed – than the above – to enable all members of the supply chain to fulfill their tasks properly.


REACH communication obligations for distributors toward buyers

  • toward consumers (population)
  • toward users (professional or industrial users)*

*A user can also purchase a product in a retail outlet, but regardless  the obligations of the distributor do not change (e.g. a safety data sheet should be provided if applicable)!


Data, information to be supplied toward the end user in the supply chain

  • A statement should be sent to other participants of the supply chain in which the supplier declares that they are familiar with and will apply the requirements of the REACH regulation.  It is also possible to indicate whether the pre-registration has been completed or it is worth to send information about the expected date of the registration. (1)
  • Providing a safety data sheet or if a safety data sheet is not mandatory for the product, all the information that allows safe handling and use of the product. (2)

In practice, such a statement is not always sent by the registrants, so it may be worthwhile to initiate proactively and make such a request to the supplier.

This circle shall include, where appropriate, the transfer of the safety data sheets extended by exposure scenarios (eSDSs) and supplying the registration number either in the safety data sheet or, if no safety data sheet is required for the substance or mixture, then otherwise (when the REACH registration will be completed by the appropriate deadline if the manufacturer/importer is obliged to do so).


REACH communication obligations for distributors towards the manufacturer/importer.  Data, information to be transmitted

  • Identified uses (1)
  • Handing over information on usage (e.g. technology description) upstream in the supply chain so that the manufacturer or importer could prepare or update the exposure scenario for that given use.
  • Providing information for suppliers on new hazard information (2)


Communicating identified uses:

If a safety data sheet is required for the substance, then after the registration of the substance the relevant information on the registered uses will be communicated to all members of the supply chain in the safety data sheet.  This also means that it is advisable to disclose information about our identified use to the manufacturer of the substance until the registration deadlines, this way we will be able to get a safety data sheet that contains relevant information for us too.  In this process, the distributor has a data mediator role, and may draw their customers attention to these advantages.

Providing information for suppliers on new hazard information:

Customers of the distributors (i.e. downstream users) may include companies that have data on the hazardous properties of the substance.

Therefore, in the interpretation of the regulation, all data should be considered as “new”, that the supplier has not communicated earlier toward the downstream users and which is not available in public databases or in literature (e.g. observations on acute human health effects at workplace).

All members of the supply chain, along with the distributor, who receive such information from the buyers, must pass the information upstream to the next member in the supply chain.


Rules for the transmission of confidential information

(Data, information not necessary to be disclosed by the members of the supply chain)

  • details of the full composition of a mixture
  • without prejudice to Article 7(6) and Article 64(2), the precise use, function or application of a substance or mixture, including information about its precise use as an intermediate (1)
  • the precise tonnage of the substance or mixture manufactured or placed on the market (2)
  • the links between a manufacturer or importer and his distributors or downstream users.

(1) Identified uses can also be specified by using SU codes (sector of use)

(2) According to the quantitaty ranges presented in the “registration deadlines”, it is sufficient to provide the annual quantities manufactured/imported.


Substances exempted from the REACH communication obligation

REACH excludes some of the materials used in articles from its scope, so there is no REACH procedure for these:

  • Member State national exemptions for substances used in the interest of defence


There is no need to apply the directions on registration and on evaluation, restriction and information forwarding in the supply chain:

  • In animal nutrition (within the scope of Council Directive 82/471/EEC).

There is no need to apply the directions on information forwarding in the supply chain:

  • Cosmetic products (within the scope of Council Directive 76/768/EEC)
  • Medical devices (if the information is similar to the one described in Directive 1999/45/EC)
  • Food or feedingstuffs (Food Safety Regulation (EC) No 178/2002), including food additives in foodstuffs, flavouring in foodstuffs, additive in feedingstuffs and animal nutrition uses
  • Medicinal products for human or veterinary use

For more information on exemptions, see REACH Article 2.


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