Abstract Municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) residues can generate negative environmental impacts when improperly handled. The Colloidal Silica Medium to Obtain Safe inert (COSMOS) technology represents a new method to stabilize MSWI residues and to produce inert safe material. Here we report the results about aquatic biotoxicity of lixiviated MSWI fly ash and the corresponding inertized COSMOS material using a zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo toxicity test. Quantitative assessment of waste biotoxicity included evaluation of mortality rate and of different morphological and teratogenous endpoints in zebrafish embryos exposed to tested materials from 3 to 72h post-fertilization. The results demonstrate that lixiviated MSWI fly ash exerts a dose-dependent lethal effect paralleled by dramatic morphological/teratogenous alterations and apoptotic events in the whole embryo body. Similar effects were observed following MSWI fly ash stabilization in classical concrete matrices, demonstrating that the obtained materials are not biologically safe. On the contrary, no significant mortality and developmental defects were observed in zebrafish embryos exposed to COSMOS inert solution. Our results provide the first experimental in vivo evidence that, in contrast with concrete stabilization procedure, COSMOS technology provides a biologically safe inert.