ALPINE — Every workday, small, private, family-run businesses all over Utah open their doors and do what they do. Some make stuff. Some sell stuff. Some sell stuff they make.

And then there's American Biotech Labs here in Alpine.

They're out to eliminate disease.

Their product goes by the retail brand name SilverBiotics, a liquid silver supplement that, as the company literature puts it, "has consistently demonstrated the ability to destroy a wide range of microbes ... including some of the most harmful pathogens known to humanity."

In layman's terms: it can kill bacteria, viruses, molds and other harmful things you can't see before they can kill you.

In the 10 years American Biotech has been refining and expanding its product line, company officials say it has had positive feedback for the following: malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, dengue fever, dysentery, leprosy, hepatitis, avian bird flu and inner ear infections.

And that's just for starters. The company has targeted at least 650 diseases it believes its liquid silver can help alleviate, if not eradicate.

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At the forefront of this unassuming company out to save the world is its unassuming founder, 71-year-old Bill Moeller.

In a nutshell, 11 years ago Moeller retired from his first career, financial planning, and bought a silver mine, only to discover that the price of silver had plunged lower than the Titanic.

Since selling the silver basically amounted to giving it away, Moeller hired a physicist to see what they could make with their silver if they just hung on to it.

That's when he learned that down through the centuries, even though they didn't know why it worked, people have used silver to combat infection.

There is evidence, for instance, that 5,000 years ago in India they used to eat small slivers of silver for medicinal purposes. There is also evidence that the Romans shaved silver filings into their wounds to aid healing. During the plagues in Europe, they discovered that putting silver spoons in the mouths of babies kept them from getting the plague — giving rise to the cliche "born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth."

And as little as 50 or 60 years ago, before widespread refrigeration, dairy farmers used silver buckets when milking their cows, a process that kept the milk clean and fresh.

Through trial and error, Moeller's researchers were able to come up with a highly effective blend of water and colloidal (electrified) silver that has since been patented. In 1998, Bill and sons Keith, Scott, Mark and Nathan, along with Robert Holliday, founded American Biotech Labs in Alpine, their hometown.

In the decade since, they have surely, if slowly, started to make their positive mark.

Nothing's easy, of course, and that includes saving the world from disease. There have been plenty of FDA hoops to jump through in this country and others. In the meantime they have distributed their special silver to help malarial victims in Africa, lepers in India, hepatitis sufferers in China, and as we speak they are working with the government in Thailand to help with AIDS treatment there. Here in America, ABL's silver-based products can be found in thousands of health food and supplement stores, including the giant GNC chain.

In the process, Bill Moeller — his sons call him "The Chief" — has become something of a cult celebrity among disease eradicators. He recently testified before the U.S. Congress about the positive results his company's products have had in fighting malaria in Ghana, and last year he traveled around the world to visit dozens of government officials, labs and hospitals interested in what he has to sell and serve.

"It's been an exciting ride, to find that this silver water we came up with has some interesting characteristics," says The Chief, putting it mildly.

The little company he and his boys started now employs 19 people in Alpine — plus another couple of million if you count the worldwide health consortium they are in the process of partnering with.

"We're trying to grow in the right way. Basically we're still small and conservative," says Moeller's son Scott.

Although deadly microbes might have an entirely different point of view.

Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to [email protected] and faxes to 801-237-2527.