MANHATTAN - Children wearing protective masks and waving inhalers descended on the health department Tuesday to demand a better response to asthma.

Advocacy groups are calling on the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to tighten its guidelines surrounding asthma triggers. The groups say current rules against building owners are unenforceable.

Protesters cited mold and vermin as key triggers to youth asthma. Figures show tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents suffer from the respiratory problem.

The nonprofit Make the Road New York claims the health department is now refusing to take meetings with its members on the issue.