The groups rallied outside the Bay Area Air Quality Management offices on Wednesday morning.
Leaders claim the district recently withdrew stronger health protections in low-income areas at the request of businesses. They're demanding the protections be put back into place.
"We're calling for the district to stop the pollution in the most heavily polluted communities to stop issuing permits to pollute in our communities and to develop real pollution reduction plans for the impacted communities in the Bay Area," said rally organizer Gordon Mar.
Air quality officials say clean air in the impacted communities is their top priority, and claim they're going beyond state standards to do so.