Petersburg, VA - What you can't see, can hurt you. Just ask James P. Hilton a 45 year old paramedic educator turned freelance journalist. In his newly launched book, Playing With Fire: What Everyone Needs To Know to Protect Their Health From X-rays Hilton claims airport Backscatter x-ray machines, sometimes called "virtual strip searches" for their ability to allow security men to see beneath people's clothing, are setting the stage for a future epidemic of cancer.

Thus far, news coverage has swirled almost exclusively around the more emotionally charged, "privacy concerns." But according to Hilton the looming issue is whether repeated bombardment with radiation is "planting the seeds" of disease. "In light of the abundance of evidence attesting to radiation's proven dangers, it is unfathomable that any competent, unbiased doctor could take the position that x-rays do not pose a menace to all living cells through which they pass, leaving behind a painful and costly trail of destruction," he wrote.

According to research uncovered in Playing With Fire, ionizing (penetrating) radiation in any dose, no matter how tiny, causes genetic mutations, which set all living cells exposed on the path to cancer. X-rays are considered ionizing radiation. Drawing on sources like The Mayo Clinic and The Radiological Society of North America as well as interviews with prominent radiologists, molecular biologists, and medical doctors, Hilton says Playing With Fire constructs an "iron clad" case. However, the manufacturer of the new Backscatter machines, currently being piloted at several airports, along with the FDA have given assurances of the device's "complete safety" for everyone. Hilton shoots back,"it is undisputed within scientific circles that even a single x-ray increases a three month old's chances of developing cancer in later life by at least 10 times, and yet they have plowed ahead approving up to 5000 backscatter images per person, per year. It's unconscionable."

"Predictably" he wrote, "the product's manufacturer spins out the usual half truths, citing a "very low level of x-rays'" and boasting the opinion, packaged to appear as fact, that, "The system is completely safe for all persons..." Back peddling authorities are now trying to appease the public by saying everyone will be allowed to opt out. I say, sure, for now."

Playing with Fire also takes aim at other non-medically essential use of radiation including pre-employment, excessive dental and chiropractic x-rays, newly developed "Silent Guardian" microwave crowd control devices and even questioning why there have been no studies proving police radar beams pointed at drivers do not contribute to cataracts.

The book further instructs readers how to use antioxidants to minimize the damage from radiation exposure and also how to convert an AM/FM portable radio into a basic radiation detection device in order to locate and avoid sources of electromagnetic fields in the home or at work.