Although foundry residuals, consisting mostly of waste Sands, represent a potentially attractive, high-volume resource for beneficial reuse applications (e.g. highway embankment construction), prospective end users are understandably concerned about unforeseen liabilities stemming from the use of these residuals. This paper, therefore, focuses on the innovative use of a microbial bioassay as a means of developing a characterization of environmental suitability extending beyond the analytical coverage already provided by mandated chemical-specific tests (i.e., TCLP, etc.). Microtox(TM) bioassays were conducted on leachates derived from residuals obtained at a wide range of facilities, including: 11 gray and ductile iron foundries plus one each steel and aluminum foundries. In addition, virgin sand samples were used to establish a relative 'natural' benchmark against which the waste foundry sands could then be compared in terms of their apparent quality. These bioassay tests were able to effectively 'fingerprint' those residuals whose bioassay behavior was comparable to that of virgin materials. In fact, the majority of gray and ductile iron foundry residuals tested during this reported study elicited Microtox(TM) response levels which fell within or below the virgin sand response range, consequently providing another quantifiable layer of Support for this industry's claim that their sands are 'cleaner than dirt.' However, negative Microtox(TM) responses beyond that of the virgin sands were observed with a number of foundry samples (i.e. four of the 11 gray or ductile iron sands plus both non-iron sands). Therefore, the latter results would suggest that these latter residuals be excluded from beneficial reuse for the immediate future, at least until the cause and nature of this negative response has been further identified.