In this paper we report the findings of a European survey of regulated and emerging disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking waters in selected regions that were part of epidemiology studies. The levels of DBPs found reflected the diverse regions from which the samples were collected, the different treatment/disinfection processes and the different source waters. In addition to a wide range of concentrations of DBPs (e.g. median trihalomethanes (THMs) of 8–85 μg L–1), bromine incorporation was quite diverse (e.g. some waters were highly dominated by bromine-containing DBPs, whereas others only had chlorine-containing species). Bromine incorporation was highest in the haloacetonitriles (HANs) and was lowest in the trihalogenated haloacetic acids (THAAs). In addition, the ratios of THMs to HAAs, THMs to HANs, and THAAs to dihalogenated HAAs varied. Exposure assessment based on THMs alone was not sufficient for indicating the presence of emerging DBPs of health concern. Occurrence studies must include a more diverse group of analytes to better understand exposure to DBPs of health concern.