This study evaluates the toxicity and genotoxicity levels of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) samples collected at several locations of a megacity (Istanbul, Turkey) with different urban and industrial characteristics. The ambient air samples, in the form of a coarse fraction of inhalable particulates, PM2.5-10, were collected on Teflon filters using a passive sampling method on a monthly basis during a one-year period. Later, they were extracted into both the lipophilic and hydrophilic phases using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and ultra -pure water, respectively. The obtained aqueous extracts were tested for acute toxicity and genotoxicity using the photo -luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri Microtox((R)) and SOS Chromotest((R)) assays, respectively. Statistically significant differences greater than background levels were obtained in both measurements, indicating the presence of toxic substances absorbed on particulate matter. The PM2.5.40 extracts identified significant seasonal and locational differences in the toxicity and genotoxicity levels. Local anthropogenic activities and factors were associated with the quantified higher levels. Finally, a qualitative inner comparison study of regional toxicity and genotoxicity indexes was suggested to provide a clearer picture of the pollution and risk levels (or occurrences) in the Istanbul urban area. In this indexing study, the threshold levels for the urban background and episodic occurrences of the toxicity and genotoxicity levels in PM2.5-10 samples were identified to be 1.11 TU (Toxicity Unit) and 8.73 TU and 0.72 IF (Induction Factor) and 1.38 IF, respectively. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.