© 2015 American Chemical Society. Because of tunable band gaps, high carrier mobility, and low-energy consumption rates, III-V materials are attractive for use in semiconductor wafers. However, these wafers require chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) for polishing, which leads to the generation of large quantities of hazardous waste including particulate and ionic III-V debris. Although the toxic effects of micron-sized III-V materials have been studied in vivo, no comprehensive assessment has been undertaken to elucidate the hazardous effects of submicron particulates and released III-V ionic components. Since III-V materials may contribute disproportionately to the hazard of CMP slurries, we obtained GaP, InP, GaAs, and InAs as micron- (0.2-3 μm) and nanoscale (<100 nm) particles for comparative studies of their cytotoxic potential in macrophage (THP-1) and lung epithelial (BEAS-2B) cell lines. We found that nanosized III-V arsenides, including GaAs and InAs, could induce significantly more cytotoxicity over a 24-72 h observation period. In contrast, GaP and InP particulates of all sizes as well as ionic GaCl3and InCl3were substantially less hazardous. The principal mechanism of III-V arsenide nanoparticle toxicity is dissolution and shedding of toxic As(III) and, to a lesser extent, As(V) ions. GaAs dissolves in the cell culture medium as well as in acidifying intracellular compartments, while InAs dissolves (more slowly) inside cells. Chelation of released As by 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid interfered in GaAs toxicity. Collectively, these results demonstrate that III-V arsenides, GaAs and InAs nanoparticles, contribute in a major way to the toxicity of III-V materials that could appear in slurries. This finding is of importance for considering how to deal with the hazard potential of CMP slurries.