© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017.Soil contamination by heavy metals is a serious global environmental problem, especially for developing countries. A large number of industrial plants, which continually pollute the environment, characterize Tuzla Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of this study was to assess the level of soil pollution by heavy metals and to estimate cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of soil leachates from this area. Lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg) were analyzed by ICP-AES and AAS. Soil contamination was assessed using contamination factor, degree of contamination, geoaccumulation index and pollution load index. To determine the connection of variables and understanding their origin in soils, principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) were used. The results indicate that Cd and Hg originated from natural and anthropogenic activities, while Pb is of anthropogenic origin. For toxicity evaluation, CaCo-2 and HaCaT cells were used. PrestoBlue assay was used for cytotoxicity testing, and γH2A.X for genotoxicity evaluation. Concerning cytotoxicity, Cd and Hg had a positive correlation with cytotoxicity in HaCaT cells, but only Hg induced cytotoxicity in CaCo-2 cells. We also demonstrate that soil leachates contaminated by heavy metals can induce genotoxicity in both used cell lines. According to these results, combining bioassays with standard physicochemical analysis can be useful for evaluating environmental and health risks more accurately. These results are important for developing proper management strategies to decrease pollution. This is one of the first studies from this area and an important indication of soil quality in Southeast Europe.