The Microscreen phage-induction assay, which quantitatively measures the induction of prophage lambda in Escherichia coli WP2s(lambda), was used to test 14 crude (unfractionated) hazardous industrial waste samples for genotoxic activity in the presence and absence of metabolic activation. Eleven of the 14 wastes induced prophage, and induction was observed at concentrations as low as 0.4 picograms per ml. Comparisons between the mutagenicity of these waste samples in Salmonella and their ability to induce prophage lambda indicate that the Microscreen phage-induction assay detected genotoxic activity in all but one of the wastes that were mutagenic in Salmonella. Moreover, the Microscreen assay detected as genotoxic 5 additional wastes that were not detected in the Salmonella assay. The applicability of the Microscreen phage-induction assay for screening hazardous wastes for genotoxic activity is discussed along with some of the problems associated with screening highly toxic wastes containing toxic volatile compounds.