Information bulletin – February 2021

In this bulletin:

Update on CrO3: Partial Authorization and new obligations for Downstream Users

On December 18, 2020, the EU Commission partially granted the CTAC Sub Consortium an authorization for several ‘uses’ of Chromiumtrioxide (uses 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 as specified in the Application for Authorization, AfA). The CTAC Sub consists of seven companies that account for almost all imports of CrO3 into the EU.

Among the ‘uses’ within the scope of authorization are conversion layers before powder coating of aluminium for architectural applications (included in ‘use 5’ miscellaneous surface treatment) and formulators (‘use 1’, i.e. supply of mixtures for uses 2, 4, 5 and 6)

The authorization is definitely a game changer for downstream users.

The authorization does indeed lead to several important new obligations, both for the Authorization Holders (AH) and for the Downstream Users (DU).

The Authorization Holders should update the exposure scenarios they have used for their initial AfA before 18 March 2021. These scenarios need to be presented in much more detail for each specific application. Aluminum powder coaters may expect to be involved in that update, either directly or through their chemical suppliers, i.e. formulators who are themselves DUs for the AHs.

Also before March 18th 2021, AH’s have to provide their DU’s with updated extended Safety Data Sheets (SDS), containing information and guidance on Risk Management Measures to be taken and on the monitoring programs to be implemented by the DUs.

The updated exposure scenarios, based on exposure and emissions data obtained from the DUs, must be verified and validated by the AHs by 18 June 2022 and communicated to the DUs, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and to the Member States competent authorities.

Downstream users also have important new tasks. To start with, they must notify ECHA within three months of the first delivery of authorized substances after 23 December 2020 (i.e. the publication date of the authorization in the OJEU).

That notification to ECHA mentions the authorization number (provided on the packaging by the upstream supplier) and also the 'key functionality' required for the intended use (e.g. for coated aluminum profiles this can be 'corrosion resistance' or 'adhesion promotion')

DUs must comply with the updated extended Safety Data Sheets that they will receive from their supplier, and in particular, they will fully implement the relevant operational conditions and risk management measures therein.

In addition, DUs must conduct at least annual air monitoring programs for occupational exposure to Cr6. The first measurements must be carried out without delay and no later than 18 June 2021. They must also carry out at least annual monitoring programs for Cr6 emissions in waste water and air from local exhaust ventilation.

The information collected from these monitoring programs will be communicated to ECHA by the DUs for the first time by 18 December 2021.

Keep in mind that existing monitoring programs are unlikely to meet the specific new requirements specified in the authorization decision.

Where the CrO3 conversion layer is applied by spraying, additional, strict, operational conditions and risk management measures apply.

Surface treatment companies must also be able to ensure that the finished articles (e.g. coated aluminum profiles) do not contain Cr6 ‘above the detectable level’.

The authorization decision sets 21 September 2024 as the new sunset date for the use of CrO3. It also sets 21 March 2023 as the Latest Application Date to file for a new extension of the authorization. Aluminium powder coaters who wish to continue the use of CrO3 after the new sunset date must therefore take timely action, preferably before the end of 2021. Finally, as far as the UK is concerned, it is to be noted that the authorization has been granted in 2020, i.e. before the end of the Brexit transition period. Also, as one of the 7 authorization holders is based in the UK, it is important that EU aluminium coaters are vigilant against specific EU REACH or UK REACH provisions.

ESTAL, February 2021

For more information, please contact

Simon Meirsschaut ESTAL
Technical Coordinator
Tel +32 473 451 263


Martine Kalmar
Secretary General
Tel. +41 44 772 22 77

Legal disclaimer: All information provided by ESTAL and ESTAL Technical Coordinator is given to the best of their knowledge. Neither ESTAL nor the Coordinator personally accept liability for the correctness and completeness of the information contained in this communication, or for the consequences of any action taken on the basis of the information provided. ESTAL advises the information recipient to seek confirmation of the relevant information from the competent authority.


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