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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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This Week In FDA History - May 22, 1950

Photo of the Zerret applicator May 22, 1950:
A federal judge announced prison sentences for the inventor and distributor of the "Zerret Applicator," a plastic device falsely claiming "atomic powers" that would "cure any disease known to mankind." The trial included expert testimony that the device was worthless for curing disease.


FDA in 2006


FDA, through its Center for Devices and Radiological Health, ensures that medical devices sold in the U.S. marketplace are safe and effective. Such devices range from contact lenses to pacemakers to hearing aids. FDA regulates radiation-emitting products, including microwave ovens, cell phones, and lasers. The agency oversees mammography facilities to helpen sure that breast-screening tests are reliable. It operates a facility that develops standardized test methods in areas such as genomics, medical imaging and radiation bioeffects. FDA also maintains a staff of investigators in cities and regions across the country that works to protect consumers from unsafe or worthless medical devices.