"A total of 17 wastewater discharge monitoring stations have detected [sodium] cyanide, with three in the precautionary area exceeding the standard," Bao Jingling said at a press conference, as cited by the China Daily news portal.
Sodium cyanide is a highly toxic water-soluble powder that prevents the body from using oxygen. It is fatal if inhaled or ingested. When treated with acid, it releases the highly poisonous gas hydrogen cyanide.
"One monitoring station recorded cyanide exceeding the level by 27.4 times, while other two saw it exceed by 4.37 times and 0.96 times respectively," the official stated, as quoted in the article.
Last Wednesday, two blasts occurred in a warehouse in the port city of Tianjin, a key Chinese petrochemicals hub. The powerful explosions and subsequent fire were triggered by flammable goods and hazardous chemicals stored at the warehouse.
The death toll from the blasts has reached 114 people, according to the latest data.