Previous epidemiologic studies of maternal exposure to drinking water nitrate did not account for bottled water consumption. The objective of this National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) (USA) analysis was to assess the impact of bottled water use on the relation between maternal exposure to drinking water nitrate and selected birth defects in infants born during 1997–2005. Prenatal residences of 1,410 mothers reporting exclusive bottled water use were geocoded and mapped; 326 bottled water samples were collected and analyzed using Environmental Protection Agency Method 300.0. Median bottled water nitrate concentrations were assigned by community; mothers' overall intake of nitrate in mg/day from drinking water was calculated. Odds ratios for neural tube defects, limb deficiencies, oral cleft defects, and heart defects were estimated using mixed-effects models for logistic regression. Odds ratios (95% CIs) for the highest exposure group in offspring of mothers reporting exclusive use of bottled water were: neural tube defects [1.42 (0.51, 3.99)], limb deficiencies [1.86 (0.51, 6.80)], oral clefts [1.43 (0.61, 3.31)], and heart defects [2.13, (0.87, 5.17)]. Bottled water nitrate had no appreciable impact on risk for birth defects in the NBDPS.

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