Do you ever give a second thought to what is in the products you slather, spritz and rub into your skin? In our society, women especially are bombarded with advertisements for various lotions and potions to help us hold on to our youthful looks… but at what cost?

We can’t change our genetic makeup, but we can control certain ‘external’ and/or ‘environmental’ forces that impact our health, for example: what we put into our bodies, our lifestyle choices, exercise and what we put on our skin. The study of these factors and their effects is called “epigenetics.” The word epigenetics literally means ‘above’ or ‘on top of’ genetics, referring to the external modifications to our DNA.  These external forces don’t change the sequence of our DNA, but instead can turn genes ‘on’ or ‘off’ and influence how our cells read them.

Right here in Ottawa, scientist Dr. Jeffrey Dilworth works on this very area of study in the regenerative medicine program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. His work has inspired local entrepreneur and long-time supporter of The Ottawa Hospital, Steve Kaminski into action.   Founder of terra20 and also a member of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, Steve has committed $25,000 a year for the next five years to Dr. Dilworth’s study of epigenetics and how our environment and choices impact our health.

“At terra20 we are committed to offering products that encourage a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. It’s important we know where the things we buy and use come from and how they were made. We’re doing our best to help customers make better, more informed decisions about the products they choose.”

terra20 is an Ottawa-founded retailer offering a wide selection of healthy and sustainable household and personal products. The team at terra20 has also created its own “Baseline Banned List” of 15 harmful ingredients prohibited by the company. They’ve also added an additional 12 chemicals they believe to be harmful to the environment and human health. You can see the Baseline Banned List of chemicals here.

It’s an interesting exercise to look at the list and compare what’s in some of the products we use to groom ourselves, store our food and clean our homes.

Happy hunting!