Originally posted by grantj
Removing cats does not expose you to benzene, it can under certain circumstances increase pollution. Cats are there only if the EFI computer doesn't keep the air fuel mixture correct, which some times it can't. After the introduction of unleaded petrol in the USA, studies by the government and private researches found that benzene levels did not increase without cats.
I don't think you have the right idea on this. The reason EFI is used is that the engine MUST run in a narrow fuel/air mixture range in order for the cats to work. If the mixture is too rich or lean the Cats cannot work. This is part of the reason cats don't work on diesels (current type cats anyhow - there are different types that do work, however other issues are holding them back).
As for benzene, stand behind a car running premium unleaded fuel and no cats. Tell me your eyes don't hurt or water. That is the effect of exposure to benzene/byproducts, and other pollutants. Also, the USA uses very different fuel to us.
Finally, without wanting to cause any arguments, and certainly not having a go at anyone specifically, if you can't afford to maintain a car catch public transport. It's like saying "I can't afford to buy a helmet to ride my bike", or "I can't afford to buy a lifejacket on my boat". If you can't - don't.