Urinary excretion of volatile nitrosamines was assessed in 59 non-smokers living in a rural county of Quebec, Canada. Water and food intakes were measured by means of a 24-hour recall. Nitrates were analyzed in the tap water of all participants (geometric mean = 2.0 mg nitrate-N/L) and dietary intakes of nitrate and vitamins C and E were estimated via a validated Canadian food database. Urine was collected over the same 24-hour period and analyzed for nitrates by hydrazine reduction and for volatile nitrosamines by gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry, N-Nitrosopiperidine (NPIP) was found in urine samples from 52 of the 59 subjects. Geometric mean of NPIP urinary excretion was 67 ng/day and maximum value was 1045 ng/day, No other volatile nitrosamine was detected. There was a correlation between urinary nitrate excretion and total nitrate intake (r = 0.71, P <0.001), However, no relationship was found between urinary NPIP excretion and either nitrate excretion, dietary or water nitrate intakes. NPIP excretion was significantly correlated to coffee intake (r = 0.40, P = 0.002) and this relation was not modified by vitamin intake. We conclude that nitrate intake is not related to nitrosamine excretion in this rural population. The influence of coffee consumption on NPIP excretion deserves further attention.