Paraffin: A Wax for Paper and Candles September 23, 2015 Email Paraffin is a petroleum-based material used to make wax paper and candles. A 2009 study from South Carolina State University showed that long-term exposure to the smoke produced by paraffin candles can have negative effects on human health. Allergies and cancer are examples of some health effects. Beeswax candles are ecofriendly, non-toxic alternatives. To learn more about the health concerns of lighting paraffin candles, read this article.