ESIG provides guidance to solvents manufacturers and importers in Europe on ways to comply with REACH requirements. Our Generic Exposure Scenarios (GES) are the solvents industry standard in Europe today to ensure REACH compliance through the supply chain and form the basis for the supporting DU sectors activities on Use Mapping that is recommended by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) – ENES website and Use Map Library.

Learn more about GES: Their Development, Application, and Interpretation under REACH.

ESIG is working together with ECHA to include the GES details within their Use Map Library. In addition, ESIG has consolidated the listing of GES Titles and supporting details within ECHA’s ‘Overview Use Map Template’. In this template, ESIG has mapped the GES to published DU Sector Use Maps to assist DUs in identifying the relevant GES Title and supporting Contributing Activities relevant for their list of uses.

GES, Smart and Simple

With more than 1,000 different solvents used in hundreds of different applications, industry needed a smart, simplified approach to develop the many exposure scenarios required.

Our solution was to develop a generic approach to consolidate the many different solvent applications into Generic Exposure Scenario (GES) titles covering Workers (Industrial and Professional), Consumers and the Environment. The over 20 GES we developed cover around 90% of solvent uses today.

This cluster approach helped to substantially reduce complexity and harmonise compliance across the value chain. The resulting scenarios are also applicable to other solvent-like materials.

Developing the GES was a collaborative effort with downstream users, including ESVOC, our Downstream User Co-operation Group. This collaboration was vital to establish effective use mappings and a comprehensive phrase library.

GES advantages

  • Allows for consistent and efficient communication of solvent uses through the supply chain.
  • Provides a consistent framework to evaluate risks.
  • Creates a common basis for developing chemical safety assessments and reports.
  • Standardises terms for use in exposure scenario narratives and safety data sheets.

The science behind GES

Chemical Safety Assessments carried out for each GES are based on ECETOC TRA V3 model exposure predictions, allocation of common risk management measures (RMM) and have risk characterisation ratios (RCRs) that demonstrate safe use.

Several GES templates are available for reference when creating your own Worker and Consumer assessments, and also Specific Environmental Release Categories (SpERCs) to support associated environmental assessments.

DISCLAIMER: To the best of our knowledge and belief, the GES materials provided here are accurate, reliable and complete. We cannot, however, offer any warranties or guarantees. All users are individually responsible for their respective REACH registrations.

FAQS

REACH requires manufacturers and importers of chemical substances like solvents to develop Exposure Scenarios (ES) as part of their registration for substances classified as hazardous and sold at 10 tonnes per year. These scenarios describe the necessary conditions to ensure the safe use of solvents, preventing harm to the environment and human health. Further information can be obtained on the ECHA website.

A GES has been developed for each main area of application for solvents (e.g. formulation and (re)packing, coatings, cleaning agents). For each GES Title, ‘Use Descriptors’ have been defined in accordance with the ECHA guidance R12 Use Descriptors. The Use Descriptor mappings are reviewed against each latest version of the R12 guidance to ensure alignment and comments are provided.

Since we started producing scenarios in 2009, we have regularly updated them as needed to respond to changes in the industry and regulatory requirements. If you have any suggestions or questions, let us know at esig@cefic.be.

When customers receive an updated SDS for a product requiring ESs, they will need to identify the relevant ES(s) for their particular uses. In addition, they will need to review the ESs to check whether their local situation is consistent with the operating conditions and risk management measures identified in the ES.

If a Downstream User’s (DU) use, or the conditions of use, does not appear to be covered, the DU has 12 months (REACH Article 37) from the receipt of the e-SDS to contact the supplier to request that they consider including their use/use conditions in their registration.

Further information can be obtained from ECHA.

The risk management measures for controlling exposure to substances classified because of their physico-chemical (physchem) properties, e.g. aspiration or skin dryness hazards, may be the same regardless of the type of exposure scenario.

Where these apply, the advised risk management measure may be included within the main sections of the SDS and not identified within the individual exposure scenarios.

This approach is changing. In the future, the advised risk management measures to control risks from physchem hazards will also be included in exposure scenarios annexed to the SDS. Specific details may still be included in the main sections of the SDS and referenced in the exposure scenario.

Endorsements

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and the European Council of the Chemical Industry (Cefic) have endorsed the GES approach.

In recognition of their strength and validity, the approach has been integrated into other industry tools and other references supporting REACH, including:

  • ECHA Chemical Safety Assessment and Reporting Tool (Chesar)
  • Cefic Chemical Safety Assessment Excel tool
  • Cefic ES for Communication (ESCom) Package incorporating Standard Phrases for use in Exposure Scenarios, which is also linked to The European Standard Phrases Catalogue for Establishing Safety Data Sheets (EuPhraC)

Other industries have used ESIG’s GES to comply with their own REACH requirements, including the mineral oil Industry (represented by CONCAWE) and the Lower Olefins and Aromatics consortium (LOA).