Can you get sick from eating wax paper?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Can you get sick from eating wax paper?”. Moreover, we will describe the composition of wax paper, the purpose of using wax paper, the difference between wax and parchment paper and whether it is toxic or safe for use.

Can you get sick from eating wax paper?

No, you cannot get sick from eating wax paper, in general, as it is non-toxic. Wax paper is a special kind of paper that is coated with mainly organic wax to make it water-resistant. 

The wax paper is used to store food for a longer period of time. It is placed between food products to protect them from sticking while keeping them in the freezer. But this paper has a low melting temperature, so it cannot be used at higher temperatures, for instance in an oven. 

However, if exposed to a higher temperature, the wax paper will produce smoke which can be harmful. 

For example, you can eat a Starburst Wrapper.

Composition of wax paper

Wax paper is coated with two different kinds of wax which make it resistant and non-toxic. The types of wax which are being used for coating are paraffin and organic wax.

  • Paraffin

Paraffin wax is made up of saturated hydrocarbons or from the by-products of petroleum. It is solid wax and is either white in colour or has no colour.

  • Organic wax

Organic wax is a food-grade wax that is obtained from natural sources for instance beeswax. Beeswax is a natural product that is produced by honey bees, so it has fewer side effects. 

Difference between wax paper and parchment paper

The major difference between wax paper and parchment paper is the substance that coats them. Wax paper is coated with wax while parchment paper is coated with silicones which can be bleached or unbleached.

Wax paper is mainly used to store food, but it can only withstand low melting temperatures while for high temperatures parchment paper is suitable, for example for baking purposes or to use in the oven. Wax paper melts whenever heat is applied to it while parchment paper can bear temperature up to 450oF.

Toxicity of wax paper

Wax paper can be seen in different bakery items which are being wrapped around the wax paper or they are either placed on it. The purpose of wax paper is to make sure the items do not stick together. 

But there is confusion about whether the wax paper is toxic or not? Research suggests that wax paper is not toxic, but it is not edible at the same time. 

If a person accidentally eats wax paper with any food item, it does not cause any harm to the person as it can easily be washed away from the stomach. In other cases, even if the wax of the paper is being stuck to the food and it is being ingested with the food then it is still not harmful. 

Wax paper is only toxic if it is being ingested in larger amounts and makes a ball of paper that is difficult to pass through intestines but still, it does not have that bad results.

Burning of wax paper

Wax paper has a low melting temperature and if it is placed in the oven for baking purposes then due to heat it will melt and produce smoke with a bad odour. The smoke can cause cough and other difficulties. 

So, it is suggested not to use wax paper in the oven or for the wrapping of food items that are still hot. If necessary, wait for some time and let it cool after then use wax paper.

Is wax paper biodegradable?

Wax paper is biodegradable which means that there exist certain bacteria present in the soil which can degrade the wax paper. Due to this reason, it is also not involved in the toxicity of the soil.

Pros and cons of using wax paper

The advantage of using wax paper is that it is better for the presentation of dry foods like Danish pastries, bread, pizzas and other bakery items. Wax paper will also help to retain the moisture of cakes and lower the risk of crumb production. 

The disadvantage of wax paper as described above is ingestion when it is heated.

Substitutes of wax paper

Wax paper can be used for many purposes but if it is not available it can be substituted with certain other products like aluminium foil, parchment paper, freezer paper and butter paper.


In this article, we have answered the question, “Can you get sick from eating wax paper?”, the composition of wax paper, the toxicity and burning of wax paper, its pros and cons and alternatives of wax paper.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.