History in the News: Ensuring the Safety of Millions: A Century of Regulating Biological Products

February 20, 2002 – March 21, 2003

National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

1st Floor, West Wing Floor Plan

On July 1, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law "an Act to regulate the sale of viruses, serums, toxins, and analogous products." Over the last 100 years this law has ensured the safety, purity, and potency of biological products ranging from vaccinations for smallpox and polio to the nation's blood supply, and has saved millions of lives. On view in this case are the oldest known sample of diphtheria antitoxin in the U.S., samples of smallpox vaccine, a smallpox quarantine sign, and an early HIV test kit.