Emergency services were called to the hostel after the woman suffered a suspected cardiac arrest in one of its rooms.
“We got a report of a cardiac arrest at lunchtime today. While a patrol searched the room, this substance was found. At first we thought it was narcotics, but the assessment changed,” police press spokesperson Hans Lippens said.
Police are now treating the powder as sodium azide, a poisonous and explosive substance, according to a statement, and explosives technicians were carrying out further analysis on Friday morning. According to a report in SVT Nyheter Väst, the word ‘natriumazid’ (sodium azide) was written on the bag containing the white powder.
The woman's cause of death is still unknown, but police have opened a manslaughter investigation. She has now been identified, police said, adding that she was Gothenburg resident in her 30s.
No further guests or staff at the hostel were reported hurt in connection with the incident, but those who may have come into contact with the substance have been told to go to hospital if they experience any symptoms.